Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life vigil inspired by popular movie "Unplanned"

Monday, April 22, 2019 - Updated: 2:03 pm

By JOHN FRANKO Staff Writer

Benedictine Father Thomas More Sikora noted the importance of praying outside of the Planned Parenthood facility in Downtown Pittsburgh. Through their care, concern, charity and prayer, those who had gathered helped give hope to those who have suffered and encouragement to those who support pro-life issues.

“Never doubt the power of prayer outside this building,” he said.

Father Thomas led a candlelight/balloon light vigil April 14 outside of the facility on Liberty Avenue. It was one of more than 125 that took place outside abortion centers across the United States, inspired by the movie “Unplanned.”

The vigil marked the end of the 40 Days for Life vigil in which “prayer warriors” kept a presence outside the abortion center 12 hours a day for 40 days. More than 80 area churches participated.

Father Thomas said the gathering reflected the Easter message of hope, adding, “Life does have the final word.”

Nikki Bruni, local director of 40 Days for Life, pointed out that “Unplanned” has inspired many people to turn out for pro-life vigils. The movie portrays people who work in the abortion industry in a more sympathetic light, she said, and helps others to realize that they are human beings and need prayers.

“God’s moving, and he works through his people, especially when we fast and pray, and put our trust in him,” Bruni said.

Jeannie French is part of the 40 Days for Life leadership team. She said that people have tried to shield themselves from the truth. Pointing to legislation being adopted in several states to ban abortion when a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, she said many people don’t realize that abortion can stop a heartbeat.

“Once they do, they have to rethink abortion,” French said.

The reality, she added, is that abortion is a huge business, and it takes advantage of people who are scared.

“No one wants to get an abortion,” French said. “It’s a desperate act.”

Women deserve real solutions, she said. The crisis of an unplanned pregnancy should be eliminated, and not the baby. The baby isn’t the crisis, French said. He or she is a beautiful, natural and wonderful creation.

Society hasn’t made the advances it should, she noted, because it doesn’t put its efforts in the right place.

“Our answer has been to kill the baby, and that’s catching up with us,” French said. “The answer should be kill the crisis. Figure it out.”

The Nationwide Pro-Life Candlelight Vigil was coordinated by #ProtestPP, a joint project of the Pro-Life Action League, Created Equal and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, which are joined by a coalition of more than 75 local, state and national pro-life groups.

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