Life Chain 2003: A Pro-Life Tradition Continues

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 8, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Life Chain 2003:  A Pro-Life Tradition Continues

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
September 8, 2003

Yuba City, CA ( — Pro-lifers around the nation will be standing up for unborn children –literally — this October.

They’ll be taking part in an event known as Life Chain, a pro-life tradition that has been attracting media attention for years.

Tammy Packer is one of the organizers of the Life Chain in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Packer expects some 2,000 people to take part in the event in
her community.

"This is really a pro-life area," Packer said. "The NOW (National Organization for Women) gang comes out every year and stands beside us, but they can’t even get a dozen people rounded up."

Packer believes Life Chain is popular because of its emphasis on non-confrontational, prayerful witness.

"It’s a peaceful event and we stress that you are to pray and at three o’clock everyone is supposed to kneel down for a moment of silent prayer," Packer told

The idea for the annual event was born back in 1985, when organizer Royce Dunn was inspired to get people together in the rural town of Yuba City, California, to show support for the sanctity of human life. More than 2,000 people turned out for the event.

In the years since, Dunn estimates that millions of people in cities and towns across North America have come together to form human chains to show their opposition to abortion.

According to Dunn, more than 900 cities and towns were involved in last year’s Life Chain. This years event is scheduled for Sunday, October 5, although some communities will be hosting Life Chains on Sunday, October 26.

Dunn defines Life Chain as "a public witness for Life that devoted pro-lifers build for God to anoint and work through in their local area."

Dunn believes Life Chain is important to the success of the pro-life movement. "Life Chain is only a first step into pro-life activism, but it is a serious first step that has led thousands of participants into productive pro-life work.

"While Life Chain’s first duty is to minister to its own participants during an hour of public prayer and meditation, that hour has presented the Life message to tens of millions of American motorists, through the Life Chain signs and the solemn witness of their holders," Dunn said.

"Life Chain employs seven different signs, but the original message ‘Abortion Kills Children’ is the foremost life-saver. Today many Americans will defend abortion passionately, but rare indeed is one who will tell you that he (or she) supports the ‘killing’ of unborn children (try finding one)," Dunn added.

Dunn tells that Life Chain is a faith-based effort.

"Life Chain is church-oriented and pastor- focused," he said. "The Church leads our nation, either with apathy and indecision or with integrity and commitment. Legalized abortion will end in America when the pastors of our nation resolve to end it with
the leadership God has entrusted to them. Accordingly, Life Chain asks pastors to please ‘lead’ their congregations to their local prayer chain."

Life Chain has no paid staff or budget. The national office does not request donations, and it urges local coordinators to rely solely on freewill offerings to cover their expenses. Life Chain is not a political organization; Dunn believes that political activity would lead to division among its volunteers.

Those interested in finding out more information about Life Chain can call 530-671-5500 or go to