OTTAWA, Ontario, July 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s top national pro-life organization, has called on supporters to pray for the health and conversion of New Democrat leader Jack Layton.

After propelling his party to an historic 103 seats in the May 2nd election, the new Opposition leader announced Monday that he is taking a leave of absence after being diagnosed with an unidentified new form of cancer.  The 61-year-old has previously battled prostate cancer.

“We encourage our people to remember [Layton] in their prayers,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, Campaign Life Coalition’s national organizer.  “Although he’s not someone we would support politically because of his pro-abortion stand, we do pray for him and encourage people to pray for him at this time that he’s suffering.  We just pray for his recovery.”

Layton says he hopes to be back by September, when Parliament resumes. In the meantime, rookie Quebec MP Nycole Turmel has taken over as interim leader.

Layton has been praised in the media as a charismatic and hard-working leader, and is given the lion’s share of the credit for his party’s recent successes.

However, he has been a vigorous opponent of rights for the unborn and played a leading role in cementing his party’s rock-solid pro-abortion stand.