The chill in the air was almost tangible outside of the Planned Parenthood in Eureka as a group of churchgoers gathered on the corner to protest abortion.
Feb. 13 was the kickoff rally for the 40 Days For Life campaign, a global organization that strives to end abortion through prayer and peaceful activism.
Stephanie Goodwin, 51, ran four campaigns in the city of Eureka and says the reaction from the community has not been negative.
“There’s a lot of positive reactions,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin said the organization’s aim is to be very peaceful, with their primary goal of restoration and healing.
The campaign began on Feb. 14 and continues until March 25. The group will be returning to host the 40 Days For Life vigil from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. every day.
Bill Belairs, 63, and his wife Donna Belairs, 60, also have had positive experiences in their time participating in anti-abortion activism.
“Some people flip you off,” Bill said.
At this rally, not one individual came to protest the protesters.
The Belairs said this was the biggest kickoff they have ever had for the 40 Days For Life protest.
The rally began with individuals gathering on the corner of Walford and Wilson, shaking hands, lighting and passing out candles and then gathering.
The ceremony opened with a prayer from Reverend Eddie Ramon, 46, who is the associate pastor at the Sacred Heart Church in Eureka.
“We ask the Lord to stop the horror of the taking of human lives,” Ramon said.
After his prayers, which Ramon recited in both English and Spanish, Mark Seitz, 39, with the Fortuna Church of the Nazarian took center circle to begin his prayers, accompanied by a trumpet made out of an animal horn called a shofar.
“We must proclaim publically and fearlessly that though abortion may be legal in our land, it is not just in our land. For America, we sound the shofar,” Seitz said.
A guitar was played and lyrics were passed around as the group sang songs such as “Create me in a Clean Heart,” “Oh Lord I Love you Forever” and “No Longer Slaves.”
The event concluded with a final prayer from Reverend Ramon and attendees parted ways until they join again the next morning at the official beginning of the protest.
The press release for the event boasts the successes of these campaigns, claiming they have saved almost 14,000 children from abortions.
“Dozens of abortion facilities have experienced sharp setbacks, cutting back hours and closing down for days at a time,” Goodwin said. “94 abortion facilities have been closed.”