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Local rally part of 40 Days for Life

YOUNGSTOWN — Finding a local radio station Sue Thayer didn’t know existed was the first step that placed her on a path to giving up a high-paying job with benefits to follow her heart.

“Christian radio was a tool God gave me that touched my heart and made me say, ‘Am I doing the right thing here?'” she said.

Thayer, of Storm Lake, Iowa, shared the recollection during her presentation at a one-hour 40 Days for Life kickoff gathering Tuesday outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic, 77 E. Midlothian Blvd., on the South Side.

An international 40-day campaign, 40 Days for Life seeks to end abortion locally via prayer and fasting, community outreach and peaceful vigils in front of businesses that conduct abortions.

There was no response to repeat calls and visits since late last week to the local Planned Parenthood for comment on the 40 Days for Life activities.

A local prayer rally is set to begin at 7 a.m. today next to Planned Parenthood. It will be one of an estimated 588 anti-abortion gatherings in communities worldwide that will be conducted for 40 days until Nov. 1, organizers have said.

Thayer, 40 Days’ outreach director, told a group of about 30 anti-abortion advocates that she provided contraception, pregnancy testing, birth control and sex education at area schools during her 18 years at the Storm Lake Planned Parenthood facility. Nevertheless, she also was greatly bothered by being exposed to the disturbing steps regarding surgical abortions, Thayer remembered.

So she spoke out and was fired. After that, Thayer held prayer vigils at her former place of employment, she explained.

Thayer called abortion “a hot-button issue” and encouraged those at Tuesday’s kickoff who intend to take part in 40 Days for Life gatherings to realize their prayers matter, even if they don’t see tangible results and face pushback from others.

“You have to have that full armor of God on,” she said.

Among those who intend to participate locally is Mark Stempak of Newton Falls, a volunteer who led a prayer at Tuesday’s event. His plan is to attend the local 40-day gathering 8 to 10 a.m. each Wednesday and more often if possible, Stempak added.

Dan Goffos of Cortland said his wife, Mary Goffos, the spokeswoman for the Youngstown 40 Days for Life campaign, began the local effort a few months ago. The group plans to hold a vigil outside of Planned Parenthood daily until Nov. 1 regardless of weather, he said.

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