HACKENSACK – Dozens of protesters are holding a round-the-clock vigil in front of a women’s health clinic as part of a 40-day campaign aimed at preventing abortions.
The anti-abortion activists, made up of local religious groups and volunteers, are participating in “40 Days for Life,” a nationwide campaign in which protesters hold peaceful vigils in front of abortion clinics, Hackensack coordinator Lorraine Logerfo said.
Hackensack is one of more than 200 cities participating across the country.
The effort kicked off Sept. 23 with a Mass at Holy Trinity Church in Hackensack, followed by a procession to the Women’s Choice Medical Center on Zabriskie Street.
Volunteers take turns at the vigil, according to a schedule that ensures people will be present for 24 hours until the campaign ends Nov. 1, Logerfo said.
On Saturday, around 11:30 a.m., five women and a man with a young child stood in a line across the street from the clinic, holding rosaries. They did carry signs, but some wore t-shirts that read, “Say yes to Life.” A wooden cross was mounted to a nearby telephone pole.
Representatives of the Women’s Choice Medical Center could not be reached for comment. A secretary at the clinic deferred comment to the clinic’s owner, but the owner did not return a call seeking comment Saturday.
A patient entering the clinic also declined comment.
Across the country, pro-choice groups have countered with protests of their own at abortion clinics. A pro-choice rally organized by New York City Abortion Clinic Defense was scheduled to be held Saturday in front of the Dr. Emily clinic in the Bronx, where anti-abortion protesters were participating in “40 Days for Life.”
Suzanne Alexander, of Teaneck, one of the protesters in Hackensack, said the volunteers are there to pray, and typically, do not approach patients.
“We would like people to see us and change their minds,” Alexander said.
But the novices of the Franciscans of the Renewal from the Most Blessed Sacrament Friary in Newark, who participated early Saturday, approached patients and handed out literature, she said.
Lucy Meagher, a mother of seven from Dumont, said she is participating in the vigil every Saturday.
“We’re not here to judge them, we’re here to love them and tell them there are options,” she said. NorthJersey.com