Along with crisp mornings, apple cider and the kickoff of Duck and Beaver football, fall brings something else to Oregon: the annual Life Chain events.
Typically held on the first Sunday of each October, Life Chain happens in more than 2,000 cities across North America. Participants gather together in a public location, usually holding signs with slogans like “Pregnant? Need Help? 800-712-HELP” and “Abortion Hurts Women.” While Life Chain participants hold signs for passers-by to see, they simultaneously pray for an end to abortion in their country.
Marie Chinn has been involved with Salem’s Life Chain as a coordinator or sign-holder since it began in that location in 1989. A registered nurse, Chinn felt deeply disturbed when she saw statistics in the 1980s showing how many babies were aborted in America each year versus how many couples waited to adopt. The numbers were nearly identical, and Chinn knew she had to do something.
“My goal has never changed, and that is no matter what’s going on in the world, to speak the truth about abortion: that it hurts women and kills children, that adoption is a loving option and that Jesus heals and forgives,” she says. “You can’t give up hope.”
Salem currently has two Life Chain locations to increase impact: one on Lancaster and another at the intersection of Broadway and Salem Parkway. The first year, Chinn says, drew 5,000 people. These days, it is far less, but she says she would like to see that change.
“I’ve seen women go into drugs and alcohol and relationships destroyed because of abortion,” she says. “We are to speak for the voiceless and plead the case of the fatherless, because it’s upon God’s people to get out there and speak the truth.”
Linda Middlekauff has been speaking the truth at Life Chains in Douglas County since the early 1990s, first as a participant and then as the event organizer. Multiple women have contacted her over the years to say they kept their babies because of Life Chain.
“Events like Life Chain are a good reminder that there is help for those in an unplanned pregnancy, that life is sacred and that abortion has victims besides the baby, such as mothers, fathers and other family members,” she says. “Abortion is still an issue in America.”
Douglas County will hold their event on Sunday, September 26, while Salem’s will be the following Sunday. Signs are available in English and Spanish and can be downloaded or ordered at lifechain.org/signs. To find your local Life Chain, visit lifechain.org/events.
Middlekauff challenges all Oregonian pro-lifers to make Life Chain a priority in 2021. “It’s only an hour and a half long and gets so much attention from the public,” she says.