If you took part in the 40 Days for Life campaign that just ended on Sunday, you were perhaps at some point labeled as self-righteous ... judgmental ... closed-minded ... intolerant.

That's how abortion advocates see you. They have figured you out and they know your motives ? or so they claim. They don't want to hear a single word about faith, scripture, logic or even ? oddly enough for a totally secular bunch ? science.

Many of the people who label you do so blindly. They rely on those labels to avoid the issue or change the topic. Ironically, the very use of this language is self-righteous, judgmental, closed-minded and intolerant. Those who accuse you of such things are only ?tolerant? of those with whom they agree.

The secular view is that pro-lifers are self-righteous Christians trying to force their religion on others and tell them how to live. But that simply isn?t the case.


We are not a movement of saints, but of sinners. We are a movement of converts. And among those converts are people who once stood firm in their belief in abortion. But they were wrong ? and they admitted it.

The pro-life movement is not led by those who wave their moral fingers at women who have abortions or workers who sell abortion. In fact, many of the leaders are women who have had abortions ? and the people who sold them those abortions.

Over the past 42 years, we have seen many hearts change. Abortion doctors, abortion workers, women who have had abortions, men who have paid for abortions and baby-boomers who sincerely supported ?reproductive rights? have become pro-life.

Others, like me, are in the pro-life movement and 40 Days for Life because of the witness of those who have done those things ? and changed their lives.


I heard my first pro-life talk when I was in the 8th grade. It was delivered by Carol Everett, who had run multiple abortion centers in Dallas before her conversion in the early 1990s. At my Catholic high school, I saw my first pro-life video. It was about Norma McCorvey, who was the ?Roe? of the infamous Roe v. Wade case, prior to her conversion.

When I was at Texas A&M, I decided to become a sidewalk counselor (after being scared to do so) after hearing five post-abortive women share their testimonies.

As the director of a local pro-life organization, I watched our Planned Parenthood director go in and out of her facility for eight years before she unexpectedly walked into our office next door. She sat down, cried about finally seeing the reality of the work she had been part of ? and resigned her job the next day.

Today, that woman ? Abby Johnson ? is one of the most powerful voices we have for the unborn.


Since the pro-life movement is indeed a movement of converts, it is therefore a movement of hope. And Abby is part of a growing trend that gives us hope as we observe Holy Week.

Fulton Sheen said that Holy Week is ?the week that changed the world.? This week opens the flood gates for us to change and to be made new.

C.S. Lewis said the most essential thing needed for us to change is repentance. The pro-life movement reflects that beautiful reality like no other movement in our culture, and that should give us great hope.

Since 2007, we have seen 107 abortion workers experience conversions and leave their jobs during 40 Days for Life campaigns. We've also had post-abortive women and men find healing by participating in their local campaigns ? sometimes in front of the very abortion facility where they had their abortion 10, 20 or 30 years ago.

In fact, in the first few years of 40 Days for Life, almost one third of the local leaders were women who?d had an abortion in their past. That's the hope that can only be found in a movement of converts.


I know firsthand that the abortion crisis can be overwhelming. Pro-lifers are like family. We are united to end the greatest injustice of our generation and defend the future of generations to come ? yet we get frustrated with those who oppose us and, yes, sometimes with each other. But this week, we reflect upon the hope and mercy that can be found at the Cross.

We remind ourselves this week that we must have a zeal for souls, and not just articulate arguments. Conversions may start with arguments, but they end with love.

The most effective tool that the devil uses to attack us is discouragement. I admit that I have fallen into this trap many times. The Irish cynic in me sometimes feels that when it comes to ending abortion, Good Fridays outnumber Easter Sundays. But Good Friday is where the work gets done. It's where our Lord saves us from ourselves by giving us Himself.

Even at His weakest moment, Jesus converted a criminal. He could barely breathe, yet He opened the gates of eternity to a man who was condemned to die. He gives us hope because He came ?not for the righteous, but for sinners.?

As 40 Days for Life has just ended in 252 cities in 19 countries, we enter that ?week that changed the world.? This is the week we may feel tired or weary after a long (and often cold) 40 Days for Life campaign. But this week, we remind ourselves that those who oppose us ? even those who vehemently oppose us ? often join us and even lead us in this work. And the events this week make that possible.

The repentant thief on Calvary reminds us that we must have a zeal for souls, no matter how tired or discouraged we may feel.


Having zeal does not make you a radical or a fanatic; it makes you different. And different is often what so many who have had an abortion or who work in the abortion industry are truly looking for.

In Holy Week, we don't use rhetoric or justification when we look at our sins. We see them for what they are and resolve to change. That change comes from Christ, and that change makes us free.

That freedom can be seen in the thousands of pro-life converts who lead our movement ? a movement rooted in hope.

G.K. Chesterton said, ?It is only ten minutes after all hope seems lost that hope first begins to dawn.? We are seeing that dawn in the pro-life movement. We are all invited to be part of it.

Shawn Carney, President/CEO

In addition to co-founding 40 Days for Life, Shawn is one of the most sought-after pro-life speakers, addressing audiences coast-to-coast and internationally. He has executive produced award-winning pro-life documentaries. Shawn co-authored the #1 top-rated Christian book: 40 Days for Life: Discover What God Has Done ... Imagine What He Can Do and also wrote The Beginning of the End of Abortion.