“It’s no longer just about abortion clinics” - 40 Days for Life advocate takes campaign to drugstore

“It’s no longer just about abortion clinics” - 40 Days for Life advocate takes campaign to drugstoreJoni Davison and her daughter (Joni Davison )

A Wisconsin woman took the 40 Days of Life prayer vigil to the front of a Walgreens this past year. Typically, when we think of the 40 Days of Life movement, we think of people gathering to pray for the unborn in front of abortion clinics. With the recent increase in medical abortions by means of one’s local pharmacy, the setting for such prayer is expanding.

U.S. pharmacies were given approval by the FDA at the start of 2023 to provide the abortion pill

Joni Davison

Joni Davison started participating in the prayer outreach in the 2023 spring campaign. 

“It’s no longer just about abortion clinics,” she said. 

Joni got in her car and drove to the nearest Walgreens, some 55 miles south of her hometown in northern Wisconsin.

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She expressed her frustration with the statement, “my body. My choice.”

“It is not your body,” she said. “There is separate DNA, and there (could be) a separate blood type.” 

“Nothing is sacred anymore,” she added.

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Joni said she tried to recruit folks to pray with her from nearby churches. The desire to stand in front of a commercial drug store did not appeal to everyone. Joni and her daughters and a small group of others made the commitment. 

“I’m 69-years-old and I really felt a calling the last couple of years to support the right to life,” she said.

Joni Davison and friend/Joni Davison

The overturning of Roe v. Wade was more motivation for the pro-life woman as she made the decision to step out of her comfort zone.

Joni said she remained present at the location for most of the 40 days, going home each evening to rest.

Joni had three signs explaining why she was standing outside as customers milled in and out for prescriptions and over-the-counter medications and toiletries. Joni prayed both silently and aloud, sometimes choosing to sing songs such as “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”

She described the response of the public at Walgreens as “70 percent positive and 30 percent negative.”

Some passers-by had no problem screaming at Joni as she stood peacefully. Some individuals made lewd gestures.

“But a couple people came by and prayed with me, and a couple others offered me hot cocoa, coffee, and treats,” she said.

The 40 Days for Life outreach reported on Joni's efforts in the fall campaign:

Joni is leading her second straight 40 Days for Life campaign in front of her local Walgreens--and the sacrifices she's making are heroic.

"Joni is 'out there' nearly every day," reported Jim, who leads the 40 Days for Life campaign in Green Bay, Wisconsin. "Her courage...is encouraging others."

In a town of just 8,300 people, word spreads fast. Passersby are stopping to pray with Joni, encourage her, and even bring her hot cocoa.

"I had a great encounter with a man who drove up and talked to me," Joni reported. "He said he's been waiting to see something like this."


Joni Davison

Joni’s prayerful presence sparked some conversation as people were entering and leaving the store. She was asked her views on other topics related to pregnancy, sexuality, and sin.

Joni said she tried to answer each person carefully and lovingly based on scripture. She was used to this type of inquisitive conversation. Joni had served in prison ministry for 10 years in another part of Wisconsin and had previously spent time managing a rehab center.

Joni said ministering publicly is important to her because living like Christ is not just about “going to church on Sunday,” she said, adding she is “proud to be a warrior.”

 It wasn’t so long ago that Joni read about a 90-year-old pro-life warrior doing vigils for 40 Days for Life. 

“I thought, if she can do it, then I need to get my 69-year-old self out there, too!”

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