With new spokeswoman, 40 Days for Life rolls out plans to defund Planned Parenthood locally
During a Monday night telecast for listeners around the world, the anti-choice group 40 Days For Life revealed its much-hyped plans for its next initiative in the spring, and introduced a mystery guest to serve as the face of its renewed challenge to local Planned Parenthood centers.
Like Abby Johnson before her, Planned Parenthood manager-turned-40 Days for Life activist Sue Thayer offered her “conversion story” to listeners of the telecast.
In her time as a center manager in Storm Lake, Iowa, Thayer said the so-called “dirty little secret” of Planned Parenthood was that, rather than doing all they could to prevent abortions, they were driven by profit and forced to meet abortion quotas.
“Abortion became a number or a goal,” she said, explaining the increase in telemed abortions as motivated by keeping “little overhead.”
Fayer said she was eventually terminated from her position during center downsizing, though she said it was a concealed effort to get rid of her after she expressed her views. As a 40 Days activist, Fayer returned to protest at the same center she once managed.
The group, noted for its controversial nationwide campaigns with vigils and protests outside abortion clinics, followed Fayer’s conversation by outlining its strategies to defund Planned Parenthood locally. It’s a move the group described as one of their “biggest steps forward” since their launch in 2007.
David Bereit, 40 Days for Life’s national director, used Texas as an example of the group’s success in cutting Planned Parenthood’s funding.
The group hopes to systematically remove every revenue stream going into Planned Parenthood centers, limiting not just local taxes, but corporate and individual donations as well.
As the Texas Independent has reported, state funds were already prohibited from being spent on abortions, so 40 Days went after programs funding Planned Parenthood’s other activities — $34 million cut from the state’s family planning program, and $74 from the Department of State Health Services’ funding for women’s health care clinics.
Bereit took credit for the cancellation of some Planned Parenthood fundraising events, too. “Boy, it’s been fun to talk to Abby [Johnson] about how frustrating it was to cancel those fundraising events,” said Bereit.
It is estimated that 300,000 women, mostly low-income, will be left without basic reproductive health care, and that 20,000 more unplanned pregnancies may result from Texas’ family planning cuts.
More than 8,000 listeners from small towns in the Midwest to cities in Australia and England heard the group’s announcements Monday night, including other initiatives like building the group’s prayer presence and increasing donations.
Campaign director Shawn Carney encouraged listeners to make tax-deductible one-time donations that would be doubled by a matching challenge, up to $101,200, from an anonymous donor until late November.
The group, which originated in Bryan and College Station, claims credit for having saved 732 lives, causing 61 abortion workers to quit their jobs and helping to shut down 16 facilities since 2007.
Before its spring campaign, running from Feb. 22 to April 1, the organization says it is ramping up its mobilization, education and technology efforts, and Bereit said they hope to expand to “hundreds of other cities,” while keeping their community activism running for the “long haul.”
An earlier version of this story misidentified the new 40 Days for Life spokeswoman. Her last name is Thayer, not Fayer.