For 29 years, pro-lifers across the country have been gathering on the first Sunday in October to pray publicly for an end to abortion.
This year, pro-lifers in thousands of cities in the U.S. and Canada gathered to pray and peacefully display messages about abortion and life-affirming alternatives. Many people held signs on sidewalks and street corners of their communities, proclaiming “Adoption, the Loving Option,” “Jesus Forgives and Heals” and “Abortion Kills Children.” Approximately 1,600 cities participated, according to the National Life Chain.
In Statesville, North Carolina, about 75 people from six different area churches stood on the sidewalks to witness for life, the Statesville Record and Landmark reports. Linda and Jerry Harmon, who have been organizing Life Chains in their community for 15 years, said this year’s event was one of the largest they had seen.
“I think it’s wrong to kill children,” Linda Harmon said. “I’m hoping it’ll change people’s hearts in how they value children. One in three children are aborted in this country. Can you believe that?”
In Tyler, Texas, a few abortion activists showed up at the local Life Chain to counter-protest, KYTX reports. The pro-lifers lined one side of a busy street in town, and the abortion activists protested on the other side, according to the report.
Sandra Herring, a pro-lifer who participated in the event, said she believes prayer is what makes a difference.
“We are at a crossroads in our country,” Herring told KYTX. “And I think that prayer is the only way to stop the killing of unborn babies.”
Felicia Newton, who participated in the Gainsville, Georgia rally, said pro-lifers did not come out on Sunday to judge but to offer hope. She told the Gainsville Times that she hopes the public event will encourage women to choose life for their babies.
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“All I want is to catch someone’s eye who is thinking about that and help them realize that there are other choices,” she said.
In Indianapolis, Indiana, Julie Oelker brought her 12-year-old daughter, Clare, to the pro-life event, Wish TV 8 reports.For 3 ½ miles, the sidewalks in Indianapolis were “packed” with “hundreds” of pro-lifers holding signs and praying, according to the report. The mother and daughter said they were there to remind people that life is a gift from God.
“To help all those people, it’s very empowering and it feels great because you know you’re helping people out there,” Clare said.
Sharron Albertson, a Life Chain coordinator, previously said the public events are saving lives by giving women hope for themselves and their babies.
“Every year young women report deciding not to have an abortion after reading the signs and seeing the people praying,” Albertson said. “Students understand that a third of their generation has disappeared and convince their friends not to kill their baby. People become aware of the need to pray for others in crisis situations and step into volunteer pro-life positions.”
Royce Dunn, the national Life Chain organizer, previously told LifeNews that the LifeChain is “an ecumenical prayer ministry rightly described as an afternoon extension of Sunday morning worship.” It is held every year on the first Sunday in October.