Sometimes they stand alone, sometimes in small groups. For 40 days in fall and 40 days in winter, a dedicated bunch of Christians keeps vigil outside Boise's Planned Parenthood clinic.
"Our goal is to save babies and the only way we can do it is through prayer," said Judy Walker, who has engaged in sidewalk persuasion since 2000.
Once a week for five years, Walker prayed outside a clinic on La Cassia Street in Boise until it closed in the mid-2000s. "I would cry at night," said Walker, 68, of Boise. "Let's say it was a mother bringing her daughter - that mother was going to lose her grandchild."
When the clinic closed on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Walker rejoiced and said she made a promise to the physician who closed the clinic and retired. "I said, 'We're going to keep praying for you.' And I have, every day at Mass," she said.
In the fall of 2011, Walker joined a newly formed group affiliated with 40 Days for Life, which sponsors prayer circles that the group says draw a half-million participants worldwide during the 40-day observances.
Nearly 300 people signed up to pray on the sidewalk behind Planned Parenthood's Boise Health Center on State Street near Lake Harbor, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for the 40 days of Lent, Feb. 13 to March 24 this year. The group also prays for 40 days in the fall, ending on the Sunday before Election Day.
Karen Simkins, 70, the Boise group's co-facilitator, attends St. Mark's Catholic Church.
"Sometimes this is hard," she said on a cold, windy morning on State Street last week. "But we just have to trust that when we show up, God shows up, and he's doing the work."
Passing drivers frequently honked during one three-hour stretch last week; one man rolled down his window to make an obscene gesture.
"With God, all things are possible," said Michelle Torena, 45, another St. Mark's parishioner.
Simkins' husband, Clint, said his pregnant niece canceled an appointment for an abortion at Planned Parenthood and instead went to Stanton Healthcare, an anti-abortion clinic a few steps away on North Harbor Lane. She's due April 1.
"The girl at the desk at Planned Parenthood said, 'Good for you,' " recounted Karen Simkins. "That surprised me."
Andy White said he does not judge women seeking abortions. "We believe they've given in to evil; they're not evil themselves," he said. "It's not a condemnation. It's just that we believe life is sacred."
White, 46, attends Holy Apostles Catholic Church in Meridian. "We're not saying we're better than the people inside (Planned Parenthood) or more loved by God. God loves us all the same. That includes the babies in there as well," he said.
The group 40 Days for Life began in 2004 in Bryan, Texas. It says it has saved nearly 7,000 lives from abortion, seen 25 facilities close and helped convert 75 abortion workers.
Terry Jung is the volunteer coordinator for Stanton. She said the clinic has helped 186 women complete their pregnancies since opening in October 2011.
Jung, 64, attends St. Mark's and said all faiths are welcome at the vigil. She said she particularly enjoys Mormon missionaries who stop by. "They want to lead the prayer," she said.
Depending on the composition of the group, the prayer differs. "Stations of the Cross for the Victims of Abortion" was published in 1995 in booklet form and is often used by the group.
After the 14th station, "Jesus is Laid in the Sepulcher," the booklet closes with, "Have Mercy on us. And have mercy on all those supporting the abortion industry - the abortionists, politicians, lawyers, journalists and ordinary citizens - that they might have the grace to realize the awfulness of the sin they promote, repent their fault, and do what they can to stop abortion - in our country and in the whole world."
When the group is entirely Catholic, praying the Holy Rosary is common, with participants counting one Apostles Creed, six Lord's Prayers, six Glory Bes and 53 Hail Marys by fingering their colorful strings of beads.
Sandy Heyne carried her rosary with images of a baby's foot in each bead. At 5 feet and 105 pounds, Heyne seemed liable to float away in the breeze.
"I had to hold on to the stake a couple of times," she laughed. "The wind is bad."
Heyne, 67, attends St. Paul's Catholic Church in Nampa and comes every Wednesday with a group of three other women.
Among them is Inez McGee, who splits her time between Nampa and Chandler, Ariz., praying to end abortion in both cities. "Being in two places, it's great to see the universality of what we're doing. In Arizona, we withstand the heat. Here, we deal with the cold," she said.
A web-based schedule is organized in one-hour blocks, aimed at keeping the State Street sidewalk populated. Karen Simkins said the space occasionally is vacant. "Life intervenes, people travel, get sick," she said.
Connie Di Cino tries to fill in the red blocks that flag gaps in the schedule.
"I don't mind being here by myself," said Di Cino, 42. "I'm not alone. I'm with God."
A parishioner at Boise's Cathedral of St. John, she's been involved since fall 2011. "I'm just meditating on the mystery," she said. "It feels great to stand here by yourself and just be a witness."
Di Cino held a 40 Days for Life sign mounted in a hand-carved frame and handle, which she passes on at the end of her hour. "It's like a relay," she said.
The heavy traffic on State Street is no bother, Di Cino said, pointing to a power pole across the highway, which resembles a crucifix strung with wire.
"Do you see the cross?" she asked. "You shut the noise out. We're all here to pray for the mothers and the babies - that they'll have a change of heart. Nothing else. No pushing. We just pray."
Dan Popkey: 377-6438, Twitter: @IDS_politics