Organizers of the 1996 Life Chain in the Toronto area are pleased with turnout despite decreased numbers from the previous year.

The sixth annual Life Chain attracted more than 2,600 participants to 37 major intersections in the greater Toronto area. Last year’s effort saw a turnout of 3,000 people.

Participants held up signs reading Abortion Kills Children, Abortion Hurts women, And Adoption: The Loving Option. The signs were seen by thousands of motorists and pedestrians over the course of the one-hour effort. Signs were also available in several languages, including Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish and Ukrainian.

The Yonge Street-Steeles Avenue intersection at the North York-Thornhill border saw the largest single turnout with more than 300 participants.

The Toronto Life Chain was one of several demonstrations held throughout North America October 6 to remind the public and legislators of the need for laws to protect unborn children. Montreal, Halifax, Vancouver and several cities in Ontario reported high turnouts. Most participants maintained a silent witness during the Life Chain, while others offered prayers for the protection of the unborn.

Participants noted a generally favourable response to the Life Chain from members of the public. At the Yonge Street – Eglinton Avenue intersection in mid-town Toronto, most of the passers by stopping to talk to Life Chain participants expressed support for pro-life intentions.

Although participation was down from the previous year, Life Chain officials were happy with media coverage of the event. Several newspapers and radio and TV stations covered the event, in contrast to previous efforts to ignore pro-life news.

While organizers were pleased with the results of the Life Chain, there has been some discussion in pro-life circles to make changes to 1997.

Among the possible changes is the inclusion of new sign messages. Although the Abortion Kills Children signs are the most forthright, some Life Chain participants have expressed concern about displaying them.

“Abortion Kills Children signs have had the greatest impact on the pro-abortion supporters,” said Campaign Life Coalition Ontario president Mary Ellen Douglas.

“The message is so straight forward that people are forced to stop and think about what abortion really means.”

Nonetheless Campaign Life Coalition will consider new messages for Life Chain at its strategy meeting November 15-16 in Toronto.

“Life Chain has become a high-profile project and supporters look forward to it in the fall,” Douglas said.

“However after six years we wonder if it’s time to adapt the project.”

In addition to Abortion Kills Children, Abortion Hurts Women, and Adoption: The Loving Option, other signs displayed at past Life Chains included Jesus Forgives and Heals, and Justice for the Unborn. One new sign being considered is “Pro-Choice Kills Children in the Womb.”