According to LifeChain founder Royce Dunn, 1,890 chains took place in 1,552 cities across the United States and Canada on Oct. 6. Campaign Life Coalition stated that 206 LifeChains took place in Canada.
LifeChain takes place the first Sunday of October and CLC brought it to Canada two decades ago to provide a prayerful witness that abortion kills unborn children and harms women. LifeChain participants hold signs with messages saying: “Abortion Kills Children,” “Abortion Hurts Women,” “Adoption: The Loving Option,” and several other messages expressing the sanctity of all human life and God’s forgiveness.
The witness takes place at major intersections in the city or town to maximize exposure to the pro-life message.
CLC national president Jim Hughes told it is impossible to know how many people see the messages but estimated the number to be in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. He also said that it is good for “passersby to see their fellow Canadians standing up against abortion to understand that this is still an issue that has not gone away.”
He said that reaction is mixed as he’s heard both obscenities yelled and supportive words offered, and seen both the middle finger and thumbs up signs.
Not often is the reaction any worse, but this year Faye Arellano was attacked during the LifeChain at Eglinton and Bathhurst in Toronto. The 40-something woman was attacked by a man who threw an empty water bottle at her, grabbed her hair, pushed her to the ground, and punched and kicked her repeatedly before drawing a knife. She was hospitalized at Sunnybrook and released the next day.
Arellano told LifeSiteNews.com that she did not know what motivated him but assumed it was “hatred” of “what he was seeing at that time.”
Det. Remo D’antonio of the Toronto Police Service told LifeSiteNews that Michael Panagapko of Toronto has been arrested and charged with three counts of assault, one count of assault with a weapon, and one count of wielding a dangerous weapon. Two of the charges relate to Panagapko’s attack on an unidentified man who was also part of LifeChain that came to Arellano’s rescue. A bystander told LifeSite that the man was injured by the knife, but neither LifeSiteNews nor could confirm that report.
Despite bruises and concussion, Arellano said her experience was “really nothing” when compared to “what the unborn … suffer” in abortion.
CLC was informed by organizers of the 40 Days for Life Vigil in Mississauga that groups and individuals that committed to taking blocks of time during that prayerful demonstration cancelled after hearing the news of Arellano’s attack. Hughes said that pro-life demonstrators are often subjected to verbal abuse, “it is very rare that they are victims of violent attack.” He also said that it is unclear whether the attack was motivated by the abortion issue, ethnicity, or was a random incident.
Next year’s LifeChain is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.