Pro-life bus tour stops in Madison with a message of hope Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
40 days for life bus signing
Laura Karlen, member of the Vigil for Life Board of Directors, signs the UNITED 40 Days for Life tour bus outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Madison on October 13, while holding her daughter Teresa. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- At the halfway point of the 40 Days for Life vigil to end abortion, prayer warriors in Madison got a chance to unite themselves to pro-life efforts across the country.

On October 13, the UNITED Bus Tour made a stop outside the Planned Parenthood clinic on Madison’s east side.

The bus is visiting 125 cities over 40 days to bring its message of hope to the communities united in prayer during the vigil, which runs until Sunday, Nov. 6.

40 Days for Life is joined by partner organizations for the tour, such as Pro-Life Wisconsin and Madison’s Vigil for Life.

Signing the bus

As the bus rolled in and parked across the street from the Planned Parenthood facility, many of those gathered to pray and with signs supporting life at all stages walked over to sign their name to the bus.

Their signatures, along with hundreds of others from across the country, show a united effort to end abortion.

People of all ages, including entire families, signed the bus, took pictures of their signatures, and took pictures of themselves by the bus.

Following signing the bus, dozens gathered on the sidewalk outside the clinic for speakers at a prayer service.

The program was led by Steve Karlen, Waterloo resident and North American campaign director for 40 Days for Life.

Karlen welcomed everyone and said it was “good to be home . . . it’s such a blessing to be here.”

“This is a great day,” Karlen said. “We learned earlier today of the 200th life saved from abortion this campaign.”

Fr. Eric Nielsen, pastor of St. Paul University Catholic Center in Madison, led the opening prayer -- a Prayer to the Trinity.

Continuing the victories

Karlen continued, asking if anyone was concerned with the direction the country was headed.

Following in line with recent polls, he cited, most in the crowd expressed they were.

“We have reason to be greatly encouraged,” he said. “Of all of our cultural struggles, there is one where we continue to see victory after resounding victory and that is the struggle to defend life.”

Karlen said abortion centers are closing at record rates, abortions are declining every year, and abortion workers are experiencing conversions and leaving their jobs.

He said with the good work being done, 40 Days for Life wanted to “step it up a notch.”

To make it the biggest 40 Days for Life campaign ever, they wanted to bring together all of the more than 260 campaigns in all 50 states and embarked on the bus tour of all those 50 states -- calling it “united”.

Speaking from experience

Another speaker was Laura Brown from Silent No More -- a campaign to make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings to women and men.

Brown shared her own story of losing a child to abortion.

She spoke of her visit to a Planned Parenthood clinic and how she wasn’t given any other option other than abortion.

As the procedure was about to take place, she said she was crying and told the doctor to stop, to which he replied, “You should have thought of that before.”

“The pain was so great, that I got sick and threw up,” she added.

“Afterward in the recovery room, we all laid there silently crying. No nurse came to check on us. No one gave us anything, or me anything, for the continuing nausea.”

She spoke of her long road of depression, isolation, anger, despair, suicidal thoughts, broken relationships, fear, and self-harming thoughts and behavior.

“One day, I was lifted out of the blackness of my despair and I found hope,” Brown said. “God showed me mercy and he led me to healing. That is the only reason that I can stand here today. It is out of his forgiveness that I can share my story in the hope that it will help others find healing.”

Other speakers included 40 Days for Life Board Member Tibor Baksy, Greg Wagner from the Women’s Care Center in Madison, Dan Miller from Pro-Life Wisconsin, and Karlen’s eight-year-old son Peter, whose talk was met with energetic applause.

Bishop Morlino speaks

Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison also spoke to the crowd.

“Thank you all for your faithfulness to 40 Days for Life,” he said. “Thank you for all the prayers that are rising up, along with the prayers of so many others throughout the country.”

Bishop Morlino also spoke on the importance of voting in the upcoming election and its effect on protecting life at all stages.

“This election is less about candidates,” he said, “and more about the future of the United States of America.

“The United States of America is on the very dangerous downward spiral,” the bishop added. “We’re voting for the kind of a future we want to have, or at least, we’re voting to avoid the kind of a future that could well be the end of us . . . Failure to vote might do great harm in terms of the future our country will have,” Bishop Morlino said, adding abortion could have a major role to play in a future we don’t want.

Vigil to end abortion

The 24 hours a day 40 Days for Life vigil to end abortion is going on until Sunday, Nov. 6. For more information, or to sign up to pray outside the Planned Parenthood clinic, 3706 Orin Rd. in Madison, go to

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