South Carolina joins chain of life

In its 12th year, the annual Life Chain event spread itself across South Carolina. The national event is for pro-life opponents to peacefully and silently voice their opinion on abortion.

In Goose Creek, parishioners from Immaculate Conception and neighboring parishes lined the street near the intersection of Highways 52 and 176. About 80 men, women and children held “Abortion Kills Children” and “Lord Forgive Us and Our Nation” signs.

The youth group at Immaculate Conception made a paper chain more than 200 feet long. According to Matt Schneider, a leader in the Youth Ministry Program, his peers wrote a prayer on each link of the paper chain and some just signed their name to show their support. The group brought their life chain to Summerville in previous years before this year’s inaugural Life Chain event in Goose Creek.

About 100 parishioners participated in the ecumenical event in Summerville. They lined Main Street near the Richardson Street intersection and silently stood as motorists honked their consent, for the most part.

One Catholic participant in the Myrtle Beach/Conway Life Chain noted 22 “thumbs up,” 17 waves, two applauses, countless honks, one “cap wave, and a solitary “I’m with you!”

Brenda Brown of God’s Church of New Beginnings said, “I’m just ashamed of what our nation is doing to our unborn children, and I think we’ve got to take a stand. Life begins with God, and only God has the right to take it.”

In Greenville more than 44 churches, Catholic and Protestant, stood together proudly holding their signs, praying, waving at passing cars and singing hymns on a one-mile stretch of Laurens Road. More participants filled a half-mile stretch of Haywood Road.

One woman said some people waved encouragement while others made obscene gestures, but she prayed for them all.

Most of the Catholic churches in Greenville participated in the Life Chain, along with a group of parishioners from Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenwood.

Life Chain groups could also be found along the streets of Beaufort and Aiken.

Life Chain began in 1987 in Yuba City, Calif. In the early ’90s, thousands of people turned out in each town to participate in National Life Chain Sunday in South Carolina. In Charlotte in 1993, 10,000 people stretched across 10 and a half miles.

Each town is responsible for organization of the event, and while efforts are valiant, participation is waning from thousands to hundreds.

Efforts do make a difference. A graph recently developed by the South Carolina Citizens for Life (SCCL) shows a steady decline in the number of abortions over a nine year period from 1990 — a total of 45 percent. During this time period the South Carolina General Assembly passed seven life-protecting laws. The SCCL graph shows that 36,949 baby’s lives have been saved in South Carolina.

For information on starting Life Chain in your community, send a request to the National Life Chain Office c/o Please Let Me Live Inc. at 3209 Colusa Highway, Yuba City, CA 95993; (530) 671-5500;

Tim Bullard, Sheila Ojendyk, Holly Gatling of SCCL, and Nancy Schwerin contributed to this article.