40 days for what?
40 Days For Life is on again, from 14 February to 25 March 2018. If you haven’t had the misfortune of coming across 40 Days before, it’s a bit of a festival of anti-choicery that runs across Lent each year and involves 40 days of continuous prayer vigils outside abortion clinics.
This year marks the tenth year that 40 Days has run in Australia, and here in Queensland, its target clinic is the one at Bowen Hills, run by Marie Stopes Australia.
The vigils are supposed to be peaceful ones, but it’s not very peaceful for patients and support people heading to the clinic to have to walk past a bunch of people praying loudly over rosary beads on the footpath.
We’ve decided that this year, we’re running #40daysforchoice at the same time, in an effort to offset the vigil with some things that are nice and positive and kind, for patients and their support people, and for clinic staff, who unfortunately have to put up with this sort of thing much more often than the 40 days of Lent each year.
Here’s how you can get involved:
This year, for the first time, we’re looking for people to volunteer to be clinic escorts at Bowen Hills, to walk with patients as they enter and leave the clinic. Your role would be just to be there for folks who wanted your company, and to make sure they can enter and leave safely, without harassment. It’s non-confrontational and you’re not there to change the mind of the protesters, or to challenge them on their views – you’re there as an emotional to support to patients who might need it, and their needs come first. You can read about what it’s like to be a clinic escort in the US here.
The clinic operates Monday to Friday, 7am to 4pm, so you’d need to be available at some point during those hours. There’s a heap of info for folks who are interested, so email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out a contact form if you’re keen and we’ll be in touch!
We’ll be running collections of treats for clinic staff and patients to deliver during the 40 Days campaign, to give them a bit of a lift. Check back here for collection dates and locations or keep an eye on our social media for them. We know it’s hard, but please restrain your good intentions and don’t just go and drop stuff off on your own initiative – providers have requirements around food on the premises to fulfil their clinical licensing obligations.
Across the 40 days we’ll also be sharing the stories of patients and staff who’ve had to deal with anti-abortion activities outside clinics (we’re offering all patients and support people the opportunity to share their experiences with us, thanks to some support from clinic staff), some facts about abortion (gosh, who knew?), the voices of organisations and groups who support the right to choose, and a whole bunch of other news about what’s going on here and overseas with abortion law and access.
Following us on facebook, twitter or instagram is the easiest way to keep up to date with these and other actions and events that are happening as part of the campaign. You can also sign up to our mailing list below, if email’s more your thing.