Mission Statement

To pray, fast and peacefully witness for an end to intentional destruction of all innocent human lives, especially those most in need.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

BREAKING: VFL Announces perpetual presence at Planned Parenthood

Dear Friends,

Vigil for Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin Dane County announced yesterday plans to bring a prayerful presence to Planned Parenthood every day it's open.

Looking to build on momentum generated by five successful 40 Days for Life campaigns and the derailment of late-term abortion plans at the Madison Surgery Center, the "365 for Life" initiative looks to ensure that every woman who comes to Madison for an abortion has a chance of being offered hope by prayer warriors and sidewalk counselors.

Here’s the plan: Individuals and groups sign up for recurring 2-hour shifts on a weekly or monthly basis. Here's the schedule:
• Monday-Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
• Thursday and Friday: 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

If you, your group, or your church cannot make the allotted time, we ask you to attempt to find a replacement (we will provide a list of willing prayer warriors). For example, if your church signs up to pray every Tuesday, only 10 participants going out once a month are needed to fill the schedule!

Sign up and stand up. All you need to do is choose your regularly scheduled time (ex: the 1st Tuesday of each month). You can sign-up by contacting Laura Karlen at 608-445-2064 or laura@vigilforlife.org. Soon, you will be able to sign up online as you did during 40 Days for Life. You will receive reminder e-mails before your vigil time for your convenience. After you sign up, we will equip you with guidelines and resources to bring with you to the sidewalk.

Let's get rolling TODAY! God willing, we will begin holding vigil on Monday, January 3.

If you can't get involved in the "365 for Life" initiative by signing up for a monthly vigil, you can still help our efforts. Anyone can help us in the following ways:

1. Outreach. Can your group or organization contribute to our initiative by taking a weekly or monthly block? Let Laura know.
2. Volunteer Calling. Would you be willing to contact the Vigil for Life group by phone so this initiative reaches beyond the Internet? You would be making phone calls over the span of a week or two according to your availability. Let Laura know.
3. Being "On-Call." Even if you can't commit to always being out a certain day in the month, you can still be involved by signing up to be "On-Call." Coordinators or individuals would contact you to fill in our schedule as needed. Let Laura know and indicate your availability.
4. Stop by. Now that there are set times each work day that people will be on the sidewalks, you can stop by and join the group.
5. Give us your feedback. Do you have any ideas or concerns you want to share to help us chart out this initiative? Let Laura know.

As always, you can contact Laura Karlen at 608-445-2064 or laura@vigilforlife.org.

Praise God for the moment and resources He has given us! We trust that, with God's blessing, our presence will change hearts and minds day-in and day-out with the outcome of ending Planned Parenthood's lucrative business at 3706 Orin Road in Madison, WI. The Lord always provides.

May Our Lord bless you today and our "365 for Life" initiative.

In Christ,

Laura and Steve

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

BREAKING: UW pulls out of abortion plans at the Madison Surgery Center!

We are delighted to share the joyous news that abortion plans at the Madison Surgery Center have been abandoned! All praise and glory be to God Almighty! Official confirmation can be found in this letter from the Attorney General's office.

Throughout all the ages, God has chosen the most unlikely of people to serve as his instruments of mercy and grace. And here in Madison, Wisconsin, He has done so again!

It wasn't politicians or judges or people with money and influence that won this battle. It was the humble, the meek, and the lowly who came before God asking for deliverance. The working dads. The mothers and children. Retirees and students. The Lord has done great things for us, and Holy is His Name!

When we undertook this mission to prevent the Madison Surgery Center from becoming a late-term abortion facility, our prospects were dim. But you brought the Light of Christ to Madison. You said yes to the Lord's call. And for your faithfulness, God has had mercy on His people, sparing us from this great horror.

Friends, there will certainly be more developments in the coming days. For now, let us rejoice! Praise to Jesus Christ!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Sad news...

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord! --Job 1:21

Dear Friends,

Two weeks ago, we were delighted to share with you the news that we were expecting our second child--a baby who we have wanted and have prayed for for two years. Today, I am saddened to share with you the news that our beloved child--whom we have given the name Gianna Maria Karlen--has passed into eternal life as the result of a miscarriage.

On Monday, May 3 at 6:00 p.m., we will bury this child at St. Mary's Church in Pine Bluff. We invite you to join us for a short graveside service. You can gather in the church shortly before 6:00, and we will proceed to the cemetery. After the burial, we will say the Rosary. While we don't have money to feed you all, we do invite you to join us for an informal meal at the Middleton Culvers. You can find directions below.

Friends, we know that many couples wait to announce they are pregnant until the first trimester passes so they can get through the months that are most dangerous for the baby. We understand and respect this decision. But even though we knew we faced an increased risk of miscarriage, we know life begins at conception and decided to share the news of our pregnancy with you right away.

Many of you reading this email have suffered miscarriages. And because our society dehumanizes life in the womb, it can be difficult to celebrate the life and mourn the death of a pre-born child. In very publicly grieving the loss of our child, we want to witness to the fact that even though our child passed away very early in her development, she was indeed a unique and individual human being created by the Hand of God in the image and likeness of God. If you have lost a child to either miscarriage or abortion, we hope that perhaps this letter might do just a little bit to help you feel able to fully mourn your son or daughter.

There were sixteen days from the time we learned that of Gianna's existence to yesterday when we learned of her passing, and each was a blessing that brought us great joy we will never forget. A great portion of that great joy came from the kindness of many of you. We offer our deep thanksgiving to all of you who sent us kind words--so many of you did that we did not have enough time to thank you all. Know that it was not for lack of appreciation, and please keep us in prayer going forward.

Many friends have generously offered to help us in any way they can. And if you'd like to make that same offer, here is the one thing you can do that would bring us the greatest comfort: Find a friend and take an hour to go pray at Planned Parenthood--particularly during business hours if you can. Every day, babies just like ours die, but without anyone to love and mourn them. Your prayer and witness at an abortion facility may very well be the only act of love these children receive in their short lives. And if you'd like to send us an email to let us know you have dedicated time in prayer in honor of our child, it would bring us great consolation to know that perhaps her short life served to save the life of another pre-born baby.

Directions to St. Mary's Church in Pine Bluff
Directions to Culvers in Middleton

In Christ,
Steve and Laura

PS: Remember that tomorrow (Saturday) morning, David Stiennon will be providing the First Saturday presentation at Holy Redeemer at 9 a.m. (following the 8 a.m. Mass).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Baby Shower date and location confirmed! Please RSVP.

We are overjoyed to invite all of you and your families to the baby shower for Sarah and Melord upon the recent birth (April 2, 2010) of their son Zion, who was spared from abortion by God's grace and the intercession of prayer warriors.

Please mark your calendars and plan to attend this joyful occasion:

What: Baby Shower for Sarah, Melord and Baby Zion
When: Sunday, May 23, 2010 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Where: St. Maria Goretti Parish Center, 5313 Flad Avenue Madison, WI 53711

Cake and beverages will be served. If you would like to, we also invite you to bring a snack or dessert to share.

Please RSVP by Sunday, May 16, 2010 so that we can prepare adequately. Please RSVP by contacting Steve Karlen at 608-445-2063 or steve@vigilforlife.org.

The family is registered at Target for baby items. Please consider making a sacrifice for this family by purchasing a gift or contributing toward a larger gift. If you would rather make a donation or have it on your heart to contribute toward a larger item, you can send a check to Vigil for Life (P.O. Box 45104, Madison, WI 53711 and write "Baby Shower in the memo line. Click here to visit the baby registry.

First Saturday Breakfast and Presentation

May 1st, we will hold our monthly First Saturday event and are happy to welcome David Stiennon, who will be promoting the Madison Fertility Awareness Project with his presentation, "Educating for Life: Preventing Abortions by Witnessing for NFP." David will address how pro-life, pro-family witness at the Farmer's Market and other events is necessary to provide a viable alternative to Planned Parenthood. This presentation will follow 8:00 a.m. Mass at Holy Redeemer. David will begin speaking at 9:00 a.m. We will also continue the First Saturday Fatima devotions per usual. Join us!

Prayers Partners Needed at Weekly Vigils

We need prayer partners at our weekly vigils so that at least two people are present. We would appreciate very much your commitment to pray each week or frequently. Please call Laura Karlen at 608-445-2064 to volunteer or ask questions. The schedule is as follows:

  • Madison Surgery Center: Tuesdays at 8:30 a.m. with Steve Karlen
  • Planned Parenthood: Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. with Laura Karlen
We also need a prayer partner for a prayer warrior at Planned Parenthood Fridays at 7:00 a.m. We pray that God will provide us with prayer partners--thank you in advance!

God bless all of you in your endeavors. Let our work give glory to God!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vigil for Life to be featured in nationwide 40 Days for Life teleconference

Vigil for Life to be featured in nationwide 40 Days for Life teleconference

On Tuesday, April 20, the national 40 Days for Life team will hold a teleconference and web simulcast to share breaking news regarding the future of 40 Days for Life.

Due to your excellent work on the streets, Vigil for Life Coordinator Steve Karlen will join the telecast to discuss how our success in Madison can serve as a model for other communities.

Each year hundreds of cities and tens of thousands of people join 40 Days for Life campaigns around the nation. That Madison will be one of three cities featured in tomorrow night's teleconference is a great testament to your faithful witness at the Madison Surgery Center and Planned Parenthood. Keep up the great work. And if you'd like to tune in, you can join the simulcast at 8 p.m. on Tuesday night!

Baby shower for saved baby scheduled

You might remember that a baby saved by sidewalk counselors at Madison's Planned Parenthood was born on Good Friday. Vigil for Life has tentatively scheduled a baby shower for Baby Zion and his mother Sarah for Sunday, May 23 at 1:30 p.m. We are still firming up the location and will announce it when it's ready. Please plan to attend.

You can find Sarah's registry here. If you choose to, you can also write a check to "Vigil for Life" and put "Baby Shower" in the memo line. Donations will be pooled and put toward larger items on the registry. You can mail your donation to

Vigil for Life
P.O. Box 45104
Madison, WI 53711

Weekly vigils scheduled; prayer partners needed

We've begun hosting weekly vigils at Planned Parenthood and the Madison Surgery Center.

  • Join Steve at the MSC on Tuesday mornings at 8:30 a.m.
  • Join Laura at Planned Parenthood Thursday afternoons at 4:00 p.m.

We'd greatly appreciate prayer partners during these hours. If you'd like to volunteer to join us on a weekly or monthly basis, please call 608-445-2063.

Courtesy Announcements

  • Catholics: Richard Blaney heads up the perpetual adoration program at Holy Redeemer Church, which is always in need of scheduled adorers and substitutes. Can you help him out? He's been a steadfast supporter of Vigil for Life and has directed his adorers to help with our efforts often. If you're willing to answer the call, contact him at 608-271-6539.
  • Wisconsin Right to Life will host Abby Johnson on May 12 at 7 p.m. Abby was the former director of Planned Parenthood in College Station, Texas before converting to the pro-life movement. Click here for additional information.

Friday, April 9, 2010

He is Risen

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad! --Psalm 118: 24

On behalf of Vigil for Life, please accept our wishes for a wonderful and blessed Easter season for you and your families. Jesus Christ who had died is risen. Allelujah!

All human cruelty and callous indifference, all our frustration and despair, every destroyed life and broken heart is answered by this most holy season. And so, as we go forth this year continuing our labors to pray, fast and witness for an end to abortion, let us never forget that the beginning and the end of our work is the resurrection of the Lord.

Please read on for highlights from this spring's 40 Days for Life campaign in Madison.

40 Days for Life Madison 2010: Year in Review

After only three months since the end of the fall campaign, Vigil for Life embarked on an ambitious effort: holding another 40 day vigil--this time at the Madison Surgery Center. With the fall campaign still fresh in mind, with harsher weather, and with a very public location that would result in much more open hostility, we had our doubts as to whether the vigil could be pulled off. But we placed those doubts in the Hands of the Lord and trusted that if He wanted this vigil to happen He would find a way to fill the 960 hour long prayer shifts. And did He ever!

We were delighted, humbled and amazed by the way you all turned out to this vigil. Here is an overview of some of the highlights and success stories:

Making a Difference

  • Prayer Warrior Tom reported that a man who came to work at the MSC in a service van came over to the sidewalk to ask about the late-term abortion plans. When Tom filled him in, he replied, "Well, I think I will call my boss and tell him that I will not do service here anymore."
  • MSC staff routinely thanked participants for being out on the streets.
  • The Vigil provided a street presence while Pro-Life Wisconsin discovered and publicized numerous accounts of corruption and illegal activity involved in the University of Wisconsin's plans to perform late-term abortions and its relationship with Planned Parenthood.
  • Still no abortions at the MSC--Nearly 15 months after the targetted start date! This results in an estimated 150 saved babies since January of 2009!

Incredible Efforts

  • Many people got involved for the first time--many coming from more than an hour away to pray!
  • Close to 50 people gathered for the closing vigil, led by Pastor Jeremiah Johnson who led praise and worship music and offered a powerful reflection.
  • The national 40 Days for Life team featured Madison--called you "defenders of true freedom" in its widely distributed campaign email and blog.
  • This vigil drew participants from more Christian faiths and more churches than the previous one.
  • On March 21, nearly 200 of you packed the sidewalks to pray the Stations of the Cross.
  • Scores of people packed a special Mass praying to keep abortion out of health care reform and then filled a 40 hour adoration vigil that ran concurrent with 40 Days for Life

Putting the Abortion Industry on the Defensive

  • A student newspaper on campus published a pro-abortion piece bashing vigil participants while admitting abortion kills a person.
  • One day a counter-protester showed up--drawing further attention to the treachery of UW Health and Meriter Hospital.
  • The campaign (along with a concurrent vigil in Wausau) so riled the abortion industry that several pro-abortion organizations attempted to launched a mass fundraising campaign in response to our presence on the street. The entire statewide effort drew only a paltry 63 donations!

Well done!

Keeping It Up

  • Every Tuesday at the MSC at 8:30 a.m. We will continue our witness at the MSC with a weekly vigil at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesdays. A prayer partner is needed to keep 2 people out there at a time. Please contact Steve Karlen at 608-445-2063 if you can plan on praying on Tuesdays.
  • Every Thursday at Planned Parenthood at 4:00 p.m. We will stand at the foot of the Cross at Planned Parenthood Thursdays at 4:00 p.m., which is a busy time. A prayer partner is needed to keep 2 people out there at a time. Please contact Laura Karlen at 608-445-2064 if you can plan on praying on Thursdays.
  • Is there a time that you would like to pray at either location? Grab a prayer partner and head out two-by-two, as our Lord sent out His disciples. Let us know what you have in mind so we can multiply our vigils!

Lastly, we'd like to thank a prayer warrior who will be leaving the Madison area for her incredible efforts this past year. Jenny Hakes has been praying outside the Madison Surgery Center each Saturday morning for most of the past year. She's been a regular participant in 40 Days for Life and was featured in the Wisconsin State Journal for her efforts this winter. Jenny will be relocating to Texas.

Thank you Jenny Your efforts have gone above and beyond what we could have asked. You leave large shoes to fill and will be greatly missed.

Have a Blessed Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

BREAKING: Baby spared at Madison's Planned Parenthood born safely!‏

Late last summer, we received an urgent text message from Jen of the Servants of Our Lady of Guadalupe asking us to pray for Sarah and Melord--a couple she met at Madison's Planned Parenthood. Facing financial difficulties, they had come with the intention of aborting their child. Jen, along with Mark from Pro-Life Wisconsin's Dane County affiliate, counseled the couple and offered to help in whatever way they could.

Jen and Mark's kindness made the difference. At 12:05 this morning, Sarah gave birth to a seven pound baby boy named Zion! I just spoke with Melord who reported that both mom and baby are doing well.

But our work isn't done yet. Vigil for Life plans to throw a baby shower for Baby Zion and his parents later this spring. Stay tuned for the date, time, location and registry information, and please plan to help support this young family.

Congratulations to Jen and Mark, and big time thanks to all of you who pray and witness on the streets!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Vigil for Life draws national attention

Weekly Vigils Begin!

As 40 Days for Life draws to a close at the Madison Surgery Center, we will keep the momentum going with 2 weekly vigils, one at the Madison Surgery Center and one at Planned Parenthood. The schedule is as follows:

Madison Surgery Center: Tuesday, March 30 at 8:30 a.m. with Steve Karlen

Planned Parenthood: Thursday, April 1 at 4:00 p.m. with Laura Karlen

Please join us!

40 Days for Life Madison draws national attention

Earlier this week, the national 40 Days for Life team featured Madison's 40 Days campaign in its daily email and blog. Click the link to see a wide-frame shot of the Stations of the Cross vigil that drew 150 people last weekend. Special thanks, once again, to Mary Ann Croft (who organized the event) and Fr. Rick Heilman's Knights of Divine Mercy for making it happen!

The phrase “defenders of true freedom” comes from today’s devotional. Those words in a nutshell describe the people who have taken a leap of faith, during this 40 Days for Life campaign, to pray and fast for an end to abortion.

The 40 Days for Life team in Madison, Wisconsin stands witness in front of the Madison Surgery Center, where late-term abortions were scheduled to begin in January of last year.

“For 14 months, our vigils have held them off,” said Steve Karlen, the 40 Days for Life coordinator in Madison. This center had been projected to do about 125 late-term abortions a year.

Steve said an enthusiastic community overcame the challenges “of a very hostile anti-life college campus at the end of a very cold winter.” Rather than just one or two vigil participants, it was not uncommon to see eight or twelve out at a time.

Organizers hoped to have 25-to-30 people attending a recent prayer service. “Instead,” said Steve, “we had nearly 200 people pack the sidewalks to pray.”


  • There will be a Rachel's Vineyard retreat April 16-18 in the Madison area for anyone suffering the emotional and spiritual pain of abortion. For information contact: HelpForYou@straphael.org or 608-821-3177 or call Mary at 608-221-9593, meadmt@sbcglobal.net.
  • Pro-Life Wisconsin’s Spring Awards Dinner will be held Saturday, April 17 at 6 p.m. at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Visitor’s Center) in La Crosse. Click here for more information on registration.
  • The Cenacles of Life meet at St Mary's of Pine Bluff on Saturday mornings at 6:45 am to pray 10 decades of the most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. All are welcome to join them.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Most Critical Week for the Pro-Life Movement in 37 Years

Decades from now, Americans might very well look back on this week's expected vote on the health care bill as the most devastating expansion of abortion since Roe vs. Wade OR as the beginning of the end for the abortion industry.

Congressional leaders have confirmed that abortion funding will NOT be taken out of the health care bill. Rep. Bart Stupak--who has led the fight to remove abortion funding--said Congressional leaders told him that without abortion funding "more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more."

With abortionists going out of business at a staggering rate, this health care bill is designed to save a dying industry from total collapse. A final vote could come as early as Friday or Saturday. That's why Vigil for Life is pulling out all the stops to stop this abortion mandate! Please join us for any or all of these events!

Also, we've got a bunch of vigil hours still open this week. Please sign up, especially if you haven't been out yet.

Vigil for Life Schedule for the week of 3/15

  • March 9-17: Nine days of prayer to keep abortion funding out of health care reform: We've already had more than 120 confirmed participants on Facebook alone! One Catholic prayer warrior named Dorothy has committed herself to saying the Hail Mary 1,000 times a day for these nine days! If you haven't participated, it's not too late!
  • March 15-?: Call your representative in Congress and ask him/her to oppose the pro-abortion health care bill. Click here for step-by-step instructions!
  • Thursday, March 18: Will Goodman and Jen Dunnett of the Servants of Our Lady of Guadalupe will bring the traveling Missionary Relic Image from the Marian Center for Peace in the Diocese of La Crosse to 40 Days for Life at 1 S. Park Street. All are welcome.
  • Thursday, March 18 at 7 p.m.: Join Vigil for Life and the Knights of Divine Mercy for a special pro-life Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Pine Bluff (3673 County Highway P, Cross Plains, WI 53528). All are welcome and encouraged to attend!
  • Thursday, March 18 at 8 p.m.-Saturday, March 20 at noon: Following the pro-life Mass, St. Mary's in Pine Bluff will begin 40 Hours of Eucharistic Adoration to petition the Lord to spare us from passage of the pro-abortion health care bill. Contact Steve Karlen at 608-445-2063 or steve@vigilforlife.org to sign up for hours!
  • Friday, March 19 at 6 p.m: Silent Night: Lenten Presence and Prayer at St. Mary's in Pine Bluff. An evening of prayer, a meatless meal and a talk from Mark Kimble, who will be conducting a 900 mile hike through the Appalachian Mountains. Proceeds from the hike will support Vigil for Life and other pro-life organizations. Please RSVP to Jeanne Breunig at 608-831-3139.
  • Sunday, March 21 at 5 p.m.: Fr. Rick Heilman and the Knights of Divine Mercy will lead Stations of the Cross at 40 Days for Life on Sunday, March 21 at 5:00 p.m. The event will take place at the Madison Surgery Center (1 S. Park Street). All are welcome. Attendees can meet at the corner of Park Street and Braxton Place.

"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." -Luke 11:7

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A call to nine days of prayer to keep abortion out of health care reform

We are now halfway through 40 Days for Life! If you haven't yet signed up, now is the time. Before we know it, the closing vigil will be upon us.

The campaign has confirmed 209 saved babies nationwide (Praise God!). That number does NOT include the estimated seven babies who would have perished at the Madison Surgery Center since February 17 had pro-life efforts not caused repeated postponements of the late-term abortion plans.

Urgent: A call to prayer to keep abortion funding out of health care reform

The President and members of Congress are calling for a final vote on proposed health care legislation. The vote will likely take place late next week--possibly as early as Wednesday. The current bill before Congress would allocate massive amounts of tax dollars to fund abortion, making it the greatest expansion of abortion in the United States since Roe vs. Wade.

Many of you will remember last year's push to defeat the so-called Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would have eliminated all restrictions on abortion--even forcing pro-life medical staff to choose between performing abortions and losing their jobs. After much prayer and public outcry, that bill never came up for a vote. However, the current health care bill stealthily incorporates many of the same troubling components as FOCA.

That's why Vigil for Life is calling for nine days of intensified prayer and fasting--beginning March 9 and running through March 17. From the vigil site, from home, from church or from wherever you may be, please commit the next nine days to praying that health care legislation respects human life. We've been throwing a lot at you lately, but the stakes have never been higher. We've seen here in Madison how our prayer can make a difference. Let's entrust our nation to the Lord as well. Here is a prayer we encourage you to use:

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!

Two Announcements

  1. This morning we received an urgent email from 40 Days for Life leaders in Green Bay. A young woman (whose name we do not yet have) in her second trimester of pregnancy is scheduled for an abortion Friday, March 12 at the Madison Planned Parenthood on Orin Road. We've been asked to have people on hand to pray for her. Jen and Will of the Servants of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be on hand starting at 1 p.m. If you decide to go before 1 p.m., please have at least one friend with you. If you can't go, pray from home!
  2. On Sunday, March 21 at 5 p.m., Fr. Rick Heilman and the Knights of Divine Mercy will lead Stations of the Cross in front of the Madison Surgery Center. Fr. Rick and the Knights previously used the same strategy to successfully drive a strip club out of business within six months of its opening. We'll have further details on the event in the week ahead. For now, please plan to attend!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Three Important Updates

When we returned from church Sunday morning, we had well over 50 prayer shifts to fill for this week. We asked for your help, and you responded in a big way--filling more than 40 of them by Monday afternoon! Well done! While all of this week's shifts are now filled, you can still schedule for the weeks ahead. And with a beautiful forecast for the coming days, feel free to stop in and pray at any time!

Now for three VERY important announcements:

  1. It's time for First Saturday again. Our speaker this month will be long-time pro-life activist Elise Rose, PhD., who will speak on a pro-life topic following the 8:00 a.m. Mass at Holy Redeemer Parish. At 10:00 a.m. (after the talk and a light breakfast), we will join the 40 Days for Life vigil at the Madison Surgery Center.
  2. Would you like to add another component to your peaceful witness to the sanctity of life? We'd like to add an outreach team of individuals who feel called to hand out literature to passersby at the Madison Surgery Center. If you'd like to participate, email steve@vigilforlife.org or call Steve at 608-445-2063.
  3. Members of Congress intend to pass so-called health care reform legislation by Easter. As currently written, the bill would publicly fund abortion for any reason, making it the largest expansion of abortion in America since Roe vs. Wade. As such, we ask you to please pray daily that any legislation respect the dignity of all human life.

You're making history out there. Keep up the great work!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

40 Days update; Vigil signups needed!

We've now passed the one-quarter mark of this 40 day vigil, and encouraging reports continue to flow in. While we have all received our share of scorn for our public witness in a high traffic area, we have been surprised and delighted to learn that most of you report getting more encouragement, thumbs up and friendly waves than angry responses! Please continue to share your experiences at the vigil site.

We also had the distinct pleasure of speaking with a woman this week whose daughter Marielle is about to turn 10 years old. When Marielle sent out invitations to her birthday party, she directed her friends not to bring gifts for her, but to buy baby care items to donate to Pregnancy Helpline in solidarity with 40 Days for Life! We rejoice and praise God for the generosity and love of this young lady!

Signups still needed for THIS week!

You all have done a terrific and admirable job of filling all the slots thus far with time to spare. Thank you!

We now humbly ask you to help us fill this coming week. As we write this post, we still have 50 hours to fill next week--including a whopping 38 from Thursday through Sunday! Please click here to view the schedule and sign up online or by calling Steve at 608-445-2063.

We also know that many of you have been dropping in to pray unannounced--which is terrific. One of the greatest blessings of this campaign has been to regularly have 4, 6, or even 8 people out at a time! At the same time, with our schedule looking thin right now, we'd appreciate you signing up in advance if you know that you'll be able to make it out to the site. Please know that you are always welcome to join the vigil--scheduled or not!

Lastly, it is still necessary for us to have a minimum of two people out at a time. As such, please make sure to be on time (or early) for your scheduled hour. We don't want to leave anybody stranded at the vigil site. Overall, we have been delighted by the lack of problems with punctuality, but we do need to stress the point.

Thanks for your great work. Because of your efforts and God's grace, we are as confident as we've ever been that these late-term abortion plans can be thwarted for good!

Estimated number of babies spared from abortion at the MSC by pro-life efforts since 1/6/2009: 145

Monday, February 22, 2010

UW Medical School caught performing abortions at Planned Parenthood

As we near the completion of one week of prayerful witness outside the Madison Surgery Center, we could hardly be more delighted with the way the vigil has gone.

You've done a great job peacefully and lovingly standing witness on behalf of the unborn and the parents in danger of being victimized by the schemes of UW Health and Meriter Hospital. Pro-life employees at 1 S. Park Street are grateful and encouraged. Pro-abortion employees are rattled that light is exposing their treachery for all the community to see. Keep up the great work, and please share your stories from the sidewalks! Click here or call 608-445-2063 to sign up for hours.

An Extra Guideline for Prayer Warriors

Vigil for Life is a diverse group of Christians with different levels of experience and confidence on the streets. That's why we want to make it clear to all of you that we invite you to pray with us in a way that you feel comfortable with.

So if you want to stand with a sign, we encourage it. You can even hand out the literature (blue paper slips) now found in the Official Vigil Bag to passersby, staff, or employees if you desire (just stay on the sidewalk and be courteous!). But if you're more comfortable praying silently without a sign, that's great, too. And if the person or people you're signed up with are more demonstrative than you're comfortable with, feel free to pray on your own. If the opposite is true, please don't be offended that your partner in prayer might prefer a more subtle approach.

More Troubling Revelations Expose Deadly Scheming at the University of Wisconsin

Pro-Life Wisconsin revealed today that UW Health has been funding an arrangement with Planned Parenthood where medical students perform abortions as part of their instruction. The arrangement may very well constitute a violation of state law, which prohibits tax dollars from financing abortions. The University of Wisconsin Medical School's OB/GYN Department curriculum features eight weeks of students working at Planned Parenthood assisting with abortions and other so-called family planning practices.

The revelation is the latest in a string of disturbing stories exposing unethical or illegal activities surrounding the proposed late-term abortion facility at the Madison Surgery Center. Recently, it was discovered that the UW had experimented on pancreatic tissue harvested from aborted babies. And earlier this month, the Middleton Police Department refused to comply with an Open Records Request regarding an illegal investigation of pro-lifers by the MPD and the US Department of Homeland Security.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 1: Already an encouraging update out of the Madison Surgery Center

This afternoon, a contact we have inside 1 S. Park Street told us "They're already talking about you in there! Patients are asking about the 'protest' outside."

Certain staff members actually told patients that we only came out because the weather was nice and that we'd be gone soon. That may be true if--and only if--UW Health and Meriter Hospital decide no babies will die at the Madison Surgery Center.

Why would employees lie to patients? They don't want their patients to stop and consider the fact that they might be going in for a surgery just down the hall from a proposed killing center. Our peaceful, loving witness is shining the light of Truth on the Madison Surgery Center, and it is bound to open eyes. Let's strengthen our resolve and pray these abortion plans out of existence!

If you haven't signed up yet, we still have a lot of shifts open after this week. Click here to take some time. And be sure to share stories from the vigil site with us!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

40 Days for Life at 1 S. Park Street: Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road

Vigil Purpose: To pray, fast and peacefully witness to end late-term abortion plans at the Madison Surgery Center and make others aware of these plans.

Vigil Location: Madison Surgery Center (MSC) – 1 S. Park Street Madison, WI 53715

Vigil Hours: 6:00 a.m. –Vigil Open (6:00 a.m. hour participants will “open” the vigil)****
6:00 p.m. –Vigil Close (5:00 p.m. hour participants will “close” the vigil)****

****Those who will “open” or “close” the vigil should read the “Vigil Open/Close Instructions” in the binder in the Official Vigil Bag****


Parking: There is free 2-hour parking available on Braxton Place off Park Street (northbound: Braxton Place will be the right-hand turn right on Park Street before the Madison Surgery Center; southbound: Braxton Place will be the first left-hand turn from Park Street after the Madison Surgery Center). If this parking is filled, free parking is available at St. James Catholic Church (1204 St. James Court: by foot/car, from Regent, turn left onto Brooks St. and right onto St. James Court).

Meeting Place: Participants should gather at the corner of Park St. and Braxton Pl. The prayer warriors can then move to another place along Park Street or Regent Street in front of the MSC during their shift if they desire, but should meet at Park and Braxton to hand off the Official Vigil Bag and signs. Stay on the sidewalk and do not block entrances or pedestrian traffic.

Official Vigil Bag: This bag contains a binder with sign-in forms, copies of the statement of peace and contact information, literature to hand-out (optional), tissues and few other items. One person per vigil hour should carry the Official Vigil Bag. Please do not add items to the Official Vigil Bag that will make it heavy.

Signing-In: Please sign in for your vigil hour by initialing next to your name on the vigil schedule print-outs stored in the binder in the Official Vigil Bag.

Statements of Peace: All participants must sign a Statement of Peace for the Spring 2010 vigil. Copies will be available in the Official Vigil Bag or online at www.vigilforlife.org.

Weather: This vigil is taking place during winter conditions. Dress more warmly than you expect is necessary. Feel free to warm up in your car. We are also welcome to warm up or use the restrooms at Faith Community Bible Church across Regent from the MSC. If severe weather makes driving to your vigil hour impossible, please contact vigil coordinator Steve Karlen at 608-445-2063.

Contact Information: You should call (not email), Steve Karlen, at 608-445-2063 immediately for the following reasons:
1. You will not be on-time. It is important that you are punctual. If you will not be, please call.
2. You cannot make your vigil hour for any reason.
3. You feel uncomfortable for any reason. There is also an Incident Log in the Official Vigil Bag to record any incidents.

Police Information: You have a right to hold vigil outside of the MSC. If you feel like others are preventing you from doing so or are threatening, contact vigil coordinator Steve Karlen right away at 608-445-2063. You may also call our police contact, Sgt. Schmitz. Sgt. Schmitz’s cell phone number is 608-209-8722. The non-emergency dispatcher number is 608-266-4275. As always, obey all law enforcement personnel. The MSC security person might make odd requests which are not legally binding. If you are confused about your rights and obligations, do not hesitate to call Steve Karlen or the MPD to clarify.

Signs: There are 2 official 40 Days for Life/Vigil for Life signs available for your use that may be worn or carried. If you choose not wear/carry these signs, please keep them nearby during your shift. You may not leave them unattended. The purpose of these signs is to identify the vigil and to witness as to why we are present.

Literature: If you so choose, there is literature in the Official Vigil Bag that is suitable to give out to pedestrians or Madison Surgery Center employees as they come in and leave from the building. As always, be courteous and do not block entrances, exits, the road, or the sidewalk.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Christ’s Love for St. Valentine’s Day

Send the love of Christ –a bouquet of flowers- to the person in your letter range on Friday, February 12th for Valentine’s Day.

  • If your last name starts with the letters A-D, send a bouquet to: James Woodward, CEO of Meriter Hospital 202 S. Park Street Madison, WI 53715 608-417-6210
  • Letters E-H: Biddy Martin, Chancellor of UW-Madison 161 Bascom Hall Madison, WI 53706 608-262-9946
  • Letters I-L: David Walsh, Chair of UW System Board of Regents 150 E. Gilman Street Madison, WI 53801
  • Letters M-P: Lisa Brunette, Media Relations for UW Hospital and Clinics 635 Science Drive Madison, WI 53711 608-263-5830
  • Letters Q-T: Donna Katen-Bahensky, UW Hospital and Clinics 600 Highland Avenue Madison, WI 53792 608-263-6400
  • Letters U-Z: Jeffrey Grossman, M.D., UW Medical Foundation 7974 UW Health Court Middleton, WI 53562 608-263-7013

Full Text of Steve Karlen's Speech at Wisconsin's Second Annual Defend Life Rally

They thought we’d lose interest. They thought we’d forget. They thought we’d go away.

My friends, have you lost interest? Have you forgotten? Do you plan on going away?!

That’s right! And we won’t go away until UW Health and Meriter scrap their plans to perform abortions for good. They have tarnished their reputations, alienated staff, and driven away patients in hordes. But it’s not too late to make things right. To those with the power to reverse this terrible decision we say fix it now!

Fix it now and save yourselves the irreversible stigma of turning your healing facilities into death camps. If you act on these plans to kill at the Madison Surgery Center, no amount of public relations or outreach will ever be able to wash the stench of death from that building.

Friends, the struggle for life is a struggle we will win. History is on our side. We live in a great nation, but it’s a nation that’s no stranger to bitterly divisive debates over who should be considered a human being and who should be granted the rights associated with personhood. This is nothing new. Abortion is merely the latest in a long line of these controversies. But when all is said and done, never, ever, has history sided with those who seek to dehumanize a particular segment of society.

They were wrong when they said African Americans were property. They were wrong when they brutalized Native Americans on the Trail of Tears. They were wrong when they stuck Japanese Americans in internment camps. They were wrong when they denied immigrants from China, Southern Europe, Ireland, Eastern Europe and Latin America basic civil rights. And they’re as wrong today as they’ve ever been when UW Health and Meriter say that tearing a baby limb from limb is health care. They’re wrong!

It’s not just history that’s on our side. The future is on our side as well. But let me back up a moment. In my home, we often talk about the great admiration we have for those of you who have been working on this cause for a long time through some very dark days. I know that many of you have been striving to build a Culture of Life for 5, 10, 20, 30, or even 37 years. And you may not have ended abortion yet, but you fought to protect me and my generation—the survivors of Roe v. Wade. And you’ve paved the way for young people to become the most pro-life generation since the generation born during the Great Depression. Look around and see the fruits of your labor.

And so on behalf of all of us—the survivors—this is my message to all of you who have spent your lives laboring to keep the flame alive through lost court cases, lost elections, broken promises and broken hearts: Thank you! And help is on the way!

And it starts today. No longer will we be told to wait until it’s more politically expedient to end abortion. No longer will we wait for the right candidate to ascend to office. No longer will we wait for that fifth Supreme Court justice to overturn Roe v. Wade. THIS is the year we take our country back!

Now I’m not so na├»ve that I believe it will be easy. But the road before us is certainly no more difficult than that lay before the great British Statesman William Wilberforce when he set out on his one-man quest to end the slave trade. In fact, Wilberforce’s perseverance inspires me so much that I keep a quote of his framed on the wall of my living room where I can see it every single day. The quote reads, “Never! Never will we desist. Until we extinguish every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity—looking back on these enlightened times—shall scare believe it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonor to this country!”

With years of hard work and relentless faith, William Wilberforce ended the slave trade. And we here today can end abortion if we follow his example. So join us at the 40 Days for Life campaign wherever you’re from. Here in Madison, we’ll be starting a 40 day campaign on Ash Wednesday. And we desperately need your help. Please consider taking just one hour a week for six weeks and we can cover our shifts.

Friends, we know the victory is ours because it’s been won in Jesus Christ. So let us serve as servants of the Lord and go forth and change the world. Thank you. God bless you.

Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!

Friday, February 5, 2010

BREAKING: UW Health says abortions have not started because of "protesters"

Make sure to attend Wisconsin's Second Annual Defend Life Rally which will be held tomorrow on Library Mall (the 700-800 block of State Street) at noon. The rally will last an hour, and will be followed by a march to the Madison Surgery Center. The event features an all-star cast--the most dynamic panel of pro-life and Christian leaders that will appear in Wisconsin this year!

  • National Recording Artist Aaron Thompson
  • Julaine Appling, Wisconsin Family Council
  • Barbara Lyons, Wisconsin Right to Life
  • Bob Dorn, State of Wisconsin Knights of Columbus
  • Fr. Eric Nielsen, Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison
  • Peggy Hamill, Pro-Life Wisconsin
  • Laura and Steve Karlen, Vigil for Life
  • Senator Glenn Grothman
  • Amanda Detry, University of Wisconsin Students for Life
  • Dee McCoy, Silent No More
  • Chris Slattery, EMC Frontline Pregnancy Care--New York City

We can expect counter-protesters to be present again. We sat down with the Madison Police Department yesterday to discuss this and they will take care of any problems. We will simply remain silent, avoid confrontation or engagement, remain courteous, and allow police to ensure our right to demonstrate is not hindered.

UW Health says abortions have not started because of protesters; Spring 40 Days for Life seen as key to further delay

On Thursday we spoke with a journalist who reported that UW Health Communications said the Madison Surgery Center has not begun performing abortions because of the presence of "protesters." While we have long known our presence has been instrumental in delaying these plans, this marks the first time any of the organizations involved have gone on record admitting it.

It also indicates that tomorrow's rally and the Spring 40 Days for Life campaign (which begins in only 12 days!) will be key to demonstrating our willingness to continue publicly witnessing against these plans. Having spent a great deal of time planning the rally, we need MANY signups for 40 Days for Life. Please click here to sign up for a weekly hour. If you can't commit to a weekly hour, please sign up for an hour or two the first week of the vigil when the need is most urgent.

Internal emails reveal University of Wisconsin-Madison has harvested aborted babies' organs for research purposes

Last week, Pro-Life Wisconsin announced that University of Wisconsin-Madison internal emails prove the University performed medical research on pancreatic tissue obtained from abortion facilities. The discovery calls into question UW Health's assertion that organs will not be harvested from babies aborted at the Madison Surgery Center.

The emails also reveal a culture of secrecy in which UW Health and MSC staff conspired to shift meeting locations so staff members would not learn of their plans to perform late-term abortions.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The time is now: Let's end abortion in Wisconsin‏

This Friday, we were privileged to attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C. The march marked the 37th anniversary of Supreme Court decisions that decriminalized abortion in America--costing more than 50 million lives and countless broken hearts.

The day was dominated by an overwhelming sense of hope and solidarity as more than 350,000 people of all ages gathered to send a powerful message: We will no longer tolerate the scourge of abortion in America.

Instead of relying on the courts or politicians to end abortion, pro-lifers are going to their own hands, feet and--most importantly--knees. The results are unmistakable. Nationally, the pro-life movement has stalled efforts to federally fund abortion. Locally, we've kept abortion out of the Madison Surgery Center for over a year. In fact, 40 Days for Life National Director David Bereit asked us to present to a conference in Washington on Thursday because YOUR efforts have been so effective!

Not since the Civil Rights movement has our nation seen anything resembling this groundswell of prayer and witness. The flood waters are rising, and deep cracks now appear in the culture of death. We couldn't all be in Washington last week, but each of us can help build a Culture of Life here in Wisconsin. Join us!
  1. Wisconsin's Second Annual Defend Life Rally will take place on Saturday February 6 at noon on Library Mall (the 700-800 block of State Street in Downtown Madison). Plan to attend and bring a friend. Spread the word at your church. Print and share the flier. Post it and invite friends on your Facebook page!
  2. 40 Days for Life-Madison: Spring 2010. We're only a few weeks away. Click here to view the calendar and sign up for hours! We urge you all to sign up for a weekly time slot and to commit to bring a friend. The first two weeks of each campaign tend to be the hardest to schedule. If you're not ready to commit to a weekly hour, please consider taking some time early on to help us out! If you have technical problems, call 608-445-2063 with your desired hours.