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Pro-life activist visits Alamosa

Posted: Friday, Mar 8th, 2013

David Bereit, left, executive director of 40 Days for Life, speaks with local participants this week including local organizer Jimmy Ditmer, right. Courtesy photo

ALAMOSA — Internationally-known speaker and pro-life activist David Bereit visited Colorado this week and between engagements with large groups in Colorado Springs and Denver, made time to visit the San Luis Valley to encourage a small group of participants in 40 Days for Life, a twice-annual campaign of prayer, fasting and vigils outside clinics and hospitals who perform or refer for abortions.

Bereit, executive director of 40 Days for Life, addressed the gathering on Highway 160 near the Alamosa Planned Parenthood office on Tuesday afternoon.

The group, which included local residents and supporters from as far away as Crested Butte and Trinidad, prayed with Bereit and shared stories of their own activism and prayerful concern for all stages of human life and helping women in difficult pregnancies.

Bereit said he had no idea that nine years ago, when he and a few volunteers began a campaign of peaceful prayer in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan-Station Texas, their effort would expand into a worldwide ministry which has prevented thousands of abortions.

“Never underestimate what prayer can do,” he said, adding that former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, who writes of her decision to resign from the organization in her book “Unplanned,” worked at the same clinic where Bereit began his first prayer vigil. The two are now friends and allies in the pro-life movement.

Although the Alamosa Planned Parenthood office does not perform surgical abortions, referrals that may lead to a chemical or surgical abortion are made there, Bereit said. He spoke of the psychological pain endured by post-abortive women but reminded participants to pray just as much for those employed by the clinics as for the women in difficult pregnancies. Bereit shared stories of his work supporting a variety of other prolife groups but distanced himself from groups who haven’t shown love to those on the other side of the issue.

40 Days for Life campaigns are managed locally, and Alamosa resident Jimmy Ditmer (568-1927) serves the current effort in the San Luis Valley. Bereit thanked Ditmer for his work and encouraged the participants to continue their peaceful efforts.

The local vigil will continue through March 24 on South Highway 285 in Alamosa near the Planned Parenthood.

After signing books, Bereit drove to the SLV Women’s Resource Center and met with director Cheri Crowder and the center’s volunteers, offering to pray for their work in providing support and education regarding sexuality, relationship and pregnancy issues.

The center is currently expanding its office. A group of affiliated ASU students recently received a club charter at Adams State University and look forward to a more active presence on the campus in order to serve students with education and support.

The Women’s Resource Center is planning a fund-raiser banquet featuring Gianna Jessen, a woman born with cerebral palsy as a result of a failed saline abortion procedure who is now an internationally-known speaker and pro-life activist. River of Life Church in Alamosa will host the event on Thursday, April 11, at 6 p.m. The Women’s Resource Center may be contacted for more information at 589-6698.

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