TORONTO, October 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The numbers are beginning to be tallied at Campaign Life Coalition headquarters in Toronto, showing that despite adverse weather in many locations, tens of thousands of pro-life Canadians stood in solidarity with the unborn in this year’s Life Chain.
Campaign Life Coalition informed LifeSiteNews that the numbers of Life Chain participants appear to be increasing across the country.
Each year on the first Sunday of October pro-lifers in over 200 cities and towns throughout Canada join their brothers and sisters in the U.S. in a powerful street witness campaign that proclaims the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.
Participants stand in witness for one hour, peacefully and prayerfully holding signs reading “Abortion Kills Children,” “Abortion Hurts Women,” “Jesus Forgives and Heals” and “Adoption: The Loving Option” before passers-by and motorists.
This year a new sign was added saying “Pregnant? Need Help?” This is followed by a toll-free phone number.
Jonathan Castellino of CLC told LifeSiteNews this sign got a lot of very positive reaction.
“At the intersection in Toronto where I was standing a woman came up who said she was going to book an abortion for the following week,” Castellino said, “but asked what help the phone number would give her, then wrote it down before departing.”
Timmins, Ontario, reported that 24 committed pro-lifers formed the Life Chain in uncharacteristically beautiful weather. Eileen Meunier said the group “mostly received thumbs up, with very few rude gestures. All in all it was a good day with good weather. God was with us. Jesus was in charge.”
Ellen Chesal, Executive Director of Campaign Life Coalition in Nova Scotia, said the bad weather didn’t dampen the numbers or the spirits of the Life Chainers. “We had terrible weather - constant rain from beginning to end, however this did not dampen (pardon the pun) our spirits and there were 80 dedicated, faithful pro-lifers in attendance witnessing to the sanctity of life. Praise God!”
Over 70 members of Campaign Life Coalition Kingston, Ontario, braved gale force winds for a Life Chain along King Street near Kingston General Hospital.
In Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, a total of 237 people lined Great Northern Ave, between Second Line and McDonald, for one hour in Sunday’s Life Chain. Bill Murphy, one of the Life Chain coordinators, said he was pleased with this year’s high turn out. “Two people from Brampton left the Super 8 hotel to join us! Lots of positive reaction from the drivers and 1700 cities across North America joined.”
In the face of a cold, blustering wind and the occasional shower, the small town of Barry’s Bay, Ontario, population 1200, saw an unprecedented turnout of 242 pro-lifers, up from just over 200 last year. About one third of the Life Chainers were students and staff of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, the town’s small Catholic college. “This is the best turnout yet - this is great!” said a young couple with their numerous children lining the street side. Reaction to the pro-life witness was almost universally positive, with only a few motorists peeling away from the main intersection in a show of disdain.
Abbotsford, BC, had both some of the best weather and one of the highest turnouts so far. Jared White of Abbotsford Right to Life said the city of about 120,000 has held a Life Chain in 20 of the last 21 years, with over 500 pro-lifers lining South Fraser Way for this year’s witness.
“For the most part the reaction was very positive,” said White. “There were a few people who had a negative response.”
White remarked that the focus for Abbotsford’s Life Chain this year was to show the humanity of the unborn child. Pictures of a child at seven weeks gestation, with the caption “Me at 7 Weeks,” were displayed to inform passersby that life in the womb at this point in the pregnancy is “not just a clump of cells,” but a real person.
White pointed out that showing the humanity of the unborn child may influence women, who often are coerced into abortion, to choose life. “Women are under tremendous pressure,” he said. “Abortions are legal in Canada and there is all this talk about pro-choice, but women usually feel backed into a corner and this pressure comes from a male influence.”
Campaign Life Coalition said the final tally for this year’s Life Chain in Canada, which should exceed last year’s approximately 30,000, will be published when all the numbers are received.