40 Days for Life holds prayer vigil in Quincy

In this picture, a woman is walking away, up the sidewalk outside of Walgreens with a sign saying 'Pray to End Abortion.'

40 Days for Life, a Christian, anti-abortion organization, started a prayer campaign in Quincy on Feb. 22 which will end on April 2. The prayer vigil is being held at Walgreens, at N 18th St. and Broadway Street. Participants will be walking around Walgreens and praying for 40 days.

The reason prayer vigils have started is because the Food and Drug Administration have eased regulations for the distribution of mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone is the first pill a woman takes to keep her pregnancy from growing. Up to 48 hours after the first pill, a woman takes misoprostol to empty her uterus, which can cause bleeding and cramping, according to Planned Parenthood.

Doctors, clinics and qualified health care providers were the only ones certified to distribute these pills. The FDA has eased the regulations so that pharmacies can distribute these pills to women through a certification process, The Associated Press reports.

In response, 40 Days for Life has prepared a national prayer campaign. The prayer vigil comprises of people who walk around their local Walgreens for an hour, holding signs and praying. A minimum of two people can make up the prayer vigil. Colleen Maalouf is in charge of organizing the local Quincy chapter of 40 Days for Life, she and the organization have made it explicitly clear that members should not be confrontational with people who disagree but are to be polite and courteous.

This picture shows a few men and women from St. Mary's church organization walking up and down the sidewalks in front of Walgreens, holding signs saying 'pray to end abortion.'
Men and women from the St. Mary’s church organization participating in the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil outside of Walgreens.

“I like talking with people,” Maalouf said. “Help them to be more rational. Some people have a problem with our demonstration, even though it is not a demonstration. I’ve gotten some swear words and fingers thrown my way, but I’ve also gotten a lot of thumbs up and positive hand waves from people.”

Some participants have experienced some pushback from passersby.

“A young man came and swore at my husband,” Maalouf said. “My husband is a big guy so he took it in stride, and they ended up talking together for thirty minutes.”

Quincy University’s students are also participating in this campaign. The QU Students for Life group members are praying and walking around Walgreens with the shared goal of stopping accessibility to abortion pills.

“We are here to pray to end abortion,” Joe Siemer, a junior and member of QU Students for Life, said. “We’re here praying because Walgreens has agreed to sell an abortion pill, essentially, in Illinois, being one of the States where it is legal to do so.”

An elderly man, a young, boy, and a QU student, Joe Siemer, standing in front of Walgreens holding pro-life signs.
A member of QU Students for Life, Joe Siemer (far left), joins two others at the vigil.

“Prayer is a powerful tool,” said Joe Niemerg, a junior and co-president of QU Students for Life, “it will be powerful in the pro-life movement and it will be important to do it locally. If you believe in the power of prayer, then you should definitely come.”

The group would like to invite those that have a similar interest to come and pray with them, and they invite those that disagree with them to have a calm and open discussion.

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