40 Days for Life will hold a rally at the Charleston Women's Medical Center in West Ashley Friday
Anti-abortion group 40 Days for Life
is expected to hold a rally at Charleston Women's Medical Center tonight.
According to a press release from the national organization, lead by CEO David Bereit, the 6 p.m. rally is part of the group's nationwide campaign making stops in "more than 125 cities to hold rallies and prayer vigils that will encourage Christians to stand together for the sanctity of life across the nation."
A publicist for 40 Days for Life says the rally at the Center — the only abortion facility is in Charleston and one of three in the state — will be a peaceful event. "The big thing they do is get together and pray," says publicist Jake Wilkins. "They pride themselves on being a peaceful, community based movement. We’ve seen 200 to 300 people show up at these events and they pray to end abortion."
Local 40 Days for Life event planner Alex Palileo says that the focus on peaceful prayer will be maintained via documents participants will be required to sign promising to "not be an aggravating influence in the local community."
"40 Days for Life began in College Station Texas in 2004," says Palileo. "But it wasn't until 2007 that it became a national movement. This year they're beginning the 10th year. It's the first time that we're covering all 50 states. There are prayer vigils going on simultaneously and internationally. We will be covering nearly half of the remaining abortion clinics in the U.S."
When asked why the group must organize in front of the building when some might argue the power of prayer can transcend one's location, Palileo said, "There's more that takes place out there. We're witnessing for the women that may approach the facility, and for the neighbors and the community."
But, just days ahead of the election, will there also be campaigning? According to 40 Days for Life's recent stop in Santa Barbara, leader David Bereit may encourage participants to vote pro-life, but probably won't name names.
At the California rally, when asked about Trump, Bereit told the Santa Barbara Independent,
“Some people question that. He says he’s pro-life. I look at the action.” When pressed further, he added, “[Trump] says he’s pro-life, but he’s also said the exact opposite.”
A representative at the clinic declined to comment. Charleston Women's Medical Center hours end at 5 p.m., an hour prior to the event's start time.
According to 40 Days for Life, the rally will be followed by what the organization's website calls a "Victory Celebration."