When Ricardo Estrada was 7 years old, he fell from a second story, broke open his cranium and fell into a coma. His parents prayed he would experience a divine miracle, and he did.
Receiving his own second chance at life inspired him to join the pro-life movement four years ago, and he now participates in regular prayer vigils with 40 Days for Life’s Thousand Oaks chapter.
“That’s probably what motivates me the most,” he says of his sidewalk participation. “I believe everyone has a right to have life and to have a chance — because it happened to me. That’s why, for me, it’s something very special to go out there and defend life and give that child a voice.”
The global 40 Days for Life organization says it has saved 22,829 babies since launching its first campaign in 2007. Estrada and volunteers of every age and background pray outside abortion clinics and hand out resources for expecting mothers, referrals for abortion pill reversals and information on pregnancy, parenting and more.
Estrada learned about the organization in 2018 when he felt “guided” to attend a Catholic church he hadn’t been to before. That day the church was hosting a mass for the unborn, and Estrada met people from 40 Days for Life, was given a rosary for the unborn and felt great conviction that he needed to become involved.
Since that day, he has discovered a community and a purpose.
“I felt like I was welcomed into a family … and I got to grow in my faith and do something that we love doing,” he told the Guardian. “It really taught me a lot. I became a better parent. I became a better husband.”
“We’re here praying for [the moms] and praying that the dad can make a right decision as well.”
There are “really good moments” when a pregnant girl will come out and say, “I’m having my baby. I’m keeping my baby,” he told the Guardian. “That really shows that what we do has meaning. It’s something very special. We jump around. It’s a great moment. That’s when you go, ‘Prayers do work.’”
Estrada now makes participating a regular part of his schedule, putting in an hour before work, and going there over lunch to pray.
“I’ll go, stay there for 45 minutes and then go back to work,” he says. “I fell in love with what I do now.”
Estrada hopes to help expand 40 Days for Life to the Oxnard Planned Parenthood.
“A lot of people say, ‘Why do you do it?’ But we do it because we love life, and we appreciate the life that we have, and we want to give that chance to everyone, especially the unborn that don’t have a word to say,” Estrada says. “We want to be there for them — and not just for the babies, but for the moms. We love moms, and we want them to feel like we have their backs. We’re here praying for them and praying that the dad can make a right decision as well.”
“We do it because we love life, we appreciate the life that we have, and we want to give that chance to everyone.”
Estrada’s own road to recovery as a child, when he needed a year to regain his ability to speak, motivates him now to speak up for the unborn.
“God decided to give me a second chance,” he says. “There is always a second chance for an unborn baby.”
40 Days for Life has launched its Spring campaign running now through April 22, 2023. For details, visit 40daysforlife.com and click on “Find a 40 days for life vigil.”
What a great testimony by Ricardo Estrada. Let me first start by saying I had an abortion. I was 15 in the early 70’s. Little did I know it would be the worst day of my life. All along Planned parenthood assured me I was doing the right thing. I had my whole future ahead of me and having a baby would only closed doors. I asked about adoption which was shut down and they pushed just to be clear of the whole thing. They took care of everything, and my parents never even knew. I never had to get permission it was just done. So hence the aftermath. At first, I felt relief in a way but oddly very sad. Not knowing what the baby goes through was never explained to me, except it was so early and it was not a real baby. So, I sat in a row of about 15 other girls at a hospital in LA CA. I watched as they went in and came out. Then it was my turn. They put me out and then woke up in pain and severe cramping. Later that evening found “packing” to absorb the after-blood loss. Moving on I recovered and could not shake the guilt and shame. I later learned more about the procedures and extreme pain I put this little soul with in me through. It got so overwhelming my own life went on to drugs and alcohol to not feel the horrific thing I had done. I murdered my own child. I urge anyone who is reading this and thinking of it please reconsider. There is help all the way through your pregnancy such great agencies like 40 Days for Life’s Thousand Oaks chapter. Call them first! If you are unable to keep or provide there are of thousands or those who cannot conceive and would love your child. Who knows that child could grow up to make history in all kinds of ways. But for you to play God is not your right. I know rape and incest or even danger to mom or child is what everyone is saying for a valid reason. If you were that baby and could talk, would you out of any and all reasons want to go through a horrible abortion and die or possible live through it and they let you die? Or would you Choose Life? You know you would choose life. God bless you all who face this decision. Please choose life because your baby would. Lastly of all those who want abortion aren’t you glad your mom chose life? If she didn’t, we wouldn’t have this issue.