David Bereit of 40 Days for Life was there, and asked me to share this with you. It turns out that, in addition to the well-known Biblical symbolism, there was also a secular reason for the 40-day time frame. The campaign began in a college town, where a friend with an advertising background noted that area companies strategically focused their marketing on the first few weeks (roughly the first 40 days) of the fall semester. Sure enough, that's exactly what the local abortion facility was doing, so pro-lifers followed suit.
I received a booklet, "When They Say... You Say" by Olivia Gans and Mary Spaulding Balch of the National Right to Life Committee, which contains this excellent passage:
Don't be sidetracked by pro-abortion comments that typically come up. The most common is to dismiss the undeniable facts of prenatal life as merely a "religious" issue. Do not allow your questioner to discount the scientific facts of life with misleading beside-the-point rhetoric.Google Analytics shows that many people have taken this advise, citing SecularProLife.org in online debate boards for the proposition that abortion is not a religious issue.
In fact, it is precisely because of modern scientific understanding that there are people of all faiths, and no fath, working in the pro-life movement. The cause of the unborn is the ultimate human rights issue. While it may be tempting, and may in some settings even appropriate, to engage in a discussion of the theological origins for a person's pro-life position, usually the religious arguments are just another attempt by pro-abortionists to evade the powerful truth you are presenting.
Students for Life emphasized the need for pro-lifers to study the movement's history, so that we can avoid making the same mistakes. In 1984, pro-lifers were in power in the White House and Congress, but infighting destroyed the chance to pass meaningful legislation: the movement split on whether the Human Life Amendment or Human Life Bill was better. It's the same old incrementalism debate.