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Abortion foes to demonstrate for weeks
March 01, 2010, 03:30 AM By Bill Silverfarb

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal Members of the group stand on the sidewalk in front of the Planned Parenthood on Palm Avenue in San Mateo praying and passing out pro-life literature to women entering the clinic.

The "most dynamic coordinated pro-life mobilization in history” is currently underway as a group known as 40 Days for Life is praying and fasting at abortion clinics across the United States.

The effort started in earnest Wednesday morning and will last until March 28. Locally, the group has set up shop at the Planned Parenthood on Palm Avenue in San Mateo, the same clinic where abortion foe Ross Foti has been demonstrating for years.

Foti was recently cleared of accusations he violated a court-ordered injunction to demonstrate and collaborate with others in front of the clinic. Foti cannot legally demonstrate within 15 feet of the Palm Avenue facility, a restriction to which the 40 Days for Life group is not beholden.

Members of the group stand at the front of the Planned Parenthood door passing out literature to women walking into the clinic.

It is the second year the group has demonstrated in front of the clinic. Prayer vigils will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

The group’s local leader, Jessica Munn, is putting emphasis on peaceful prayer as a way to get its message across. Members of the group, however, also carry signs that read "Women do regret abortion,” "Pray to end abortion” and "‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,’ — God.”

According to a Gallup Poll, conducted May of last year, 51 percent of Americans call themselves "pro-life” on the issue of abortion and 42 percent "pro-choice.” This is the first time a majority of adults in the United States have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking the question in 1995.

It is a fact Munn relishes.

She and her group hope that one day abortion will be outlawed as it was prior to Roe v. Wade, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized the practice in 1972.

"Every child should have a chance to live,” Munn said.

The group also routinely demonstrates at the clinic throughout the year on the first Saturday of every month.

Several people at a time will pray and pass out "pro-life” literature in front of the clinic over the next 38 days, including Jennifer Torrano and Marina Angeles.

Torrano, 29, attends the Church of Nativity in Menlo Park and participates in the 40 Days for Life group to let women who are considering abortion know there are people who care about them and their unborn babies.

Angeles, 47, attends St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in San Mateo and participates in the group to hopefully have a positive influence on women considering abortion.

"We want to save all the babies,” said Angeles, who also said praying is not enough. "Prayer without action is nothing,” she said.

Bill Silverfarb can be reached by e-mail: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal

Jessica Munn is the local coordinator for 40 Days to Life, a group that intends to hold prayer vigils in front of abortion clinics across the United States for the next several weeks.

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