On Oct. 3, from 2-3 pm, thousands of people across Canada and the United States stood and held signs at the side of the road to silently witness the horror of abortion. In Canada, the annual LifeChain was held in more 200 communities from coast to coast.

In Winnipeg, at Notre Dame Avenue in front of the Health Science Center Women’s Clinic (an abortion facility), 115 people showed up to demonstrate against abortion. This was an increase of about 50 per cent from last year, when 75 showed up. Maria Slykerman, president of Campaign Life Coalition Manitoba, told The Interim that LifeChain was a chance to bring people together to pray and witness to the public that abortion is wrong. Although most of the abortions at the abortion facility typically take place in the morning during the workweek, Slykerman reported that she had the opportunity to talk to a doctor who was thinking of doing abortions. “He wasn’t so sure whether he was going to do abortions or not … he says he was going to think about it,” Slykerman said.

The CLC Manitoba president said she participates in LifeChain because it changes hearts all over North America. “It brings people together for one day, an hour … they can pray and share.”

Ellen Chesal, executive director of Campaign Life Coalition Nova Scotia, organized the LifeChain in Halifax at Robie Street at Halifax Commons. They were “very pleased with the turnout” of 183 people, especially since the previous year, attendance dropped from the typical 100 to 150 people to about half those numbers because of rain. It also caught media attention. “Global Television had a positive interview as well as CTV,” Chesal told The Interim. “The Chronicle Herald did a full page write up about LifeChain,” with most of the story going to the pro-life side of the abortion debate.

Chesal participates in LifeChain “because it’s an atrocity that abortion is still going on,” she said. They “take just an hour of prayer so that society sees…we are supporting life.” Other Nova Scotia communities also held their own LifeChains, with Yarmouth drawing 15 and New Glasgow 30 people.

A little over 100 people attended the Saskatoon LifeChain on Idywyld and 22nd Streets. Participants, who included families, usual LifeChain supporters, young people, some priests, and a minister, felt they received more support than usual from passersby, with several cars honking and giving the ‘thumbs up’ sign. There were also opponents to LifeChain who shouted at them from their cars. One girl showed up with a sign saying “You’re weird” and said that the participants were using their children as political props. According to a report of the incident obtained by The Interim, she went on to say that she wishes she could have been aborted because she was beaten until she was 17. Those attending LifeChain said they would pray for her.

The Lifehain in Langley, B.C., took place on Saturday, Oct. 2 from 2-3:30 pm at 200th Street and Fraser Highway. It drew 450 men, women, and children. An article submitted by coordinator Jaclyn Penninga was printed on the online version of the Langley Advance. Penninga told The Interim that there were many new people at the LifeChain, including a lot of youth, which shows that “the torch is being passed.” She reports that one person stopped his car at the stoplight and asked the demonstrators about abortion for women who were raped. “Why not give that child for adoption?” they asked. “Hmm…I haven’t thought of that,” he answered.

Penninga participates in LifeChain because it is “an event where you can actually witness to the public community… (It) finally gives the chance to speak to people who aren’t necessarily pro-life.”