By Christina Soto | Broadcast Managing Editor
Starting this Ash Wednesday, men and women around the world will be protesting and praying outside of health centers that provide abortions.
Waco is one of the 335 cities in 25 countries that is participating in the 40 Days For Life campaign. In Waco, pro-life advocates will be standing outside of the Planned Parenthood on 700 W Highway 6.
Director of Pro-Life Waco, John Pisciotta said the 40 Days For Life campaign is about praying and community outreach.
“We are asking God for the blessings for the moms that will chose life, for happiness of babies and for conversion of the people who are working at Planned Parenthood today,” Piscotta said.
Felicia Masick, a 40 Days for Life participant said the purpose of the campaign is not to show hatred and ignite fear, but to love.
“You know we drive by and stop for a few minutes and offer up some prayers for these employees,” Masick said. “We love them and there is no hatred or anything like that. It’s not their intention to come to work every day and end a life. But we also are in prayer for the women who are at risk for abortion, for choosing abortion and who are in crisis pregnancies and are really suffering or hurting.”
Pisciotta said the group hopes to make a change with their demonstrations.
“To have moms say, ‘No, I am not gonna lose my baby, I am gonna give my baby life,'” Pisciotta said. “I hope we plant seeds to the workers of Planned Parenthood; that they would chose life and to bless the people that are praying.”
Piscotta said his long-term goal is to make sure the community never accepts abortion being a normal part of the fabric of this community.
The Audre Rapoport Planned Parenthood Health opened this past November and it replaced the Ross Avenue Planned Parenthood location that served Waco for over 50 years.
Stephanie Mabry, a Baylor alumna and Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Director of Development and Community Affairs, provided the following statement from Planned Parenthood expressing their thoughts on the 40 Days for Life campaign:
“Many days of the year, protestors attempt to harass and intimidate staff and patients who have appointments at our Waco health center. Planned Parenthood is an expert, trusted source of affordable reproductive healthcare and continues to enjoy widespread community support for our commitment to improving the lives of our patients. Trained medical staff offer a wide range of services from cancer screenings, birth control, including IUDs and implants, HIV tests, treatment for urinary tract infections to STD screenings, safe, legal abortion and additional healthcare and education services. As always, our doors are open to everyone who needs our services.”