Madison Vigil for Life sees turn-around numbers skyrocket

The following article is the first in a three-part series on Vigil for Life of Madison. Part two will appear tomorrow. Part three will appear next week.

Most, if not all of our readers will be familiar with 40 Days for Life--the worldwide coordinated 40 day prayer vigils in front of abortion facilities leading to thousands of saved lives and conversions of dozens of workers in the abortion industry.

Madison held its first 40 Days for Life campaign in 2007. (I was living in Chicago at the time and got involved for the 2008 campaign.) Between the 2007 and 2008 campaigns, the founder started Vigil for Life of Madison, an umbrella organization that hosts 40 Days for Life as well as other pro-life vigils, retreats, speaking events and more.

In 2009-10, Vigil for Life rose to prominence by helping to lead a successful effort to derail plans to perform late-term abortions through the University of Wisconsin Hospital.

Following the successful cancellation of the UW Hospital's abortion venture, Vigil for Life launched the 365 for Life initiative. Since then, prayer warriors have held vigil in from of the Madison Planned Parenthood every day it's been open. If memory serves me correctly, there might have been a blizzard or two that kept us off the streets for a day, but only in truly extreme circumstances have we let weather keep us off the streets.

Recently, Vigil for Life expanded its vigil schedule to include all business hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays--the days on which abortions are usually performed--in addition to covering a number of hours on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. The expansion takes place as Vigil for Life prayer warriors and sidewalk counselors report a dramatic number of saved babies and turnarounds.

Typically, we might only confirm one or two turnarounds each year. But recently, that number has jumped to about five turnarounds a month!

There's two main reasons for this:
  1. A few years ago, Amy Lang (the founder of Vigil for Life), her husband, and two other couples purchased the building across the street from Planned Parenthood. After taking some time for prayerful discernment, they opened the Women's Care Center--a Catholic crisis pregnancy center. Having a pregnancy center director across the street has helped give women a convenient and feasible alternative to abortion.
  2. In early 2011, Vigil for Life began training hundreds of sidewalk counselors to actively engage abortion-minded women. As a result, the counselors have found success presenting women with options beyond ending the life of a child.
The dramatic increase in the number of saved babies has been encouraging, but it has also strained Vigil for Life--which is a volunteer-led organization with no staff and a budget of less than $1,000 each year. Filling more than 50 one-hour shifts during the workweek 12 months a year has proven difficult. To get involved (or for more information), visit or email

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