While the Pro-life Action League is still in court with our case against former NOW president Patricia Ireland, we have not been put out of business as Ireland had claimed in her libel on Fox News’s Hannity & Colmes program. And as we mentioned in our last newsletter, we have actually increased our activities, having put out a video on sidewalk counseling, No Greater Joy, and a video on our “Truth Tour” endeavors, Face the Truth.
We have been at the abortion mills across the country. We participated in a “Truth Tour” in Maryland and Virginia, organized by pro-life activist Jack Ames. We have kept up with our pro-life activism without any pause, save for my bilateral knee-replacement surgery in early December.
Travels and Talks
Recapping just some of the trips we made since our last newsletter was published: I spent two very exciting days in Los Angeles in early July with a group called “Survivors,” whose members have attended a camp on activism run by Jeff White. The group, comprised of 60 pro-life post-Roe vs. Wade youngsters—hence the name “Survivors”—conducted a well-organized spaghetti dinner in a school auditorium at Immaculate Conception Church in Monrovia, California. About 170 people attended. Along with Jeff White and Pat Mahoney, I gave a talk on activism and the spiritual underpinnings of the work that we do.
On Saturday, I joined the group, which had set up three stalls along the famous Venice Beach, and we passed out literature and debated the abortion issue with the people walking along the boardwalk. It was highly educational to listen to the debates and discussions with the people in Venice Beach.
On July 10 we did an interview for Insight magazine, appeared on National Public Radio, and attended two days of the of the anniversary commemoration of the famous “Summer of Mercy” in Wichita, Kansas. We joined a large group of ministers in signing a protest to the Supreme Court, which was called “An Emancipation Proclamation.” The tenth anniversary had been called by Flip Benham, director of Operation Save America.
During our own “Face the Truth” tour in the Chicagoland area, coverage included WYLL Radio, the Chicago Sun-Times, WBBM Radio, Fox-TV News, the Blue Island Sun, the Daily Southtown, the Daily Herald, WNBI Radio, and the Chicago Tribune.
Returning from a week in Maryland and Virginia with Jack Ames and his “Truth Tour,” the directors decided that it would be important to call together all “Truth Tour” leaders throughout the country for a think-tank in order to design the best possibly format for these “Truth Tours” across the nation. Meanwhile, the League had sent out thousands of its own Face the Truth video to supporters and anyone who asked for a free copy.
In mid-September, I was invited to speak in Lincoln, Illinois, at Lincoln College to the full assembly at the invitation of Rev. Bob Ray who teaches at the college. During this trying time for all Americans following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, we had our own dark cloud with the death of my younger brother, Bob Scheidler, who was struck by a van while biking on a country road near his home. Bob was a high school teacher in Decatur, Indiana, and the father of nine children. My younger brother, Dr. Jim Scheidler, and I were asked to speak at his funeral.
In late September, I spoke in Baltimore at the invitation of Jack Ames and Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Orlando. I spoke on spiritual warfare at St. John’s Catholic Church and on Saturday picketed the Hillcrest abortion mill on Georgia Ave. in Washington, DC, where I was met by about 30 “deathscorts” who said that had been waiting for me to appear. We said prayers and talked to some of the women who were patronizing the abortion mill.
Upon losing our appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, we did interviews with the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Associated Press, City News Service, WYLL Radio, and other media outlets. We assured all of them that we would go on fighting to eventually win the NOW vs. Scheidler case.
In mid-October, I spoke to the Illinois Valley Citizens for Life in Ottawa, Illinois, at the invitation of Sabina Eppley. I spoke at the local Knights of Columbus Hall there.
On October 29, we were notified that the full appellate court would not review our case and so it was inevitable that we would now appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes that they will decide to hear our case.
On November 10, I flew out to Reno, Nevada, to do a live radio show on KIHM “Voice for Life” at the invitation of Toni Berry and spoke that evening at the Immaculate Conception Church to about 100 people. I also showed the video Face the Truth. On Saturday, I prayed at the local abortion mill, Women’s Medical Group, on Tyrone Road. Some years before I had prayed in front of this abortion mill with pro-lifer Andy Anderson when he was a resident of Reno.
The “Fact the Truth” strategy session that we had planned after the Baltimore tour took place on Saturday, Nov. 17. (See “Activists ‘conspire’ to Show the Truth”).
In late November, I was invited to speak to a class at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, as a favor to Joe Gaziano, who teaches political science at the University.
And my final talk of 2001 was at the Sanctity of Human Life banquet in Sacramento, California, to about 350 people. An old friend, John Stoos, was master of ceremonies for the event at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church conference hall. Fr. Ed Kavenaugh, who has been a priest for 53 years, was honored at the banquet.
On December 4, I underwent an operation for bilateral knee-replacement so that I can continue my activities without being hampered by bad knees. The operation kept me out of commission for a few weeks. But with the aid of a great group of physical therapists, I was able to return to the office and a full schedule in mid-February, making my first trip with on my “new” knees with a return to California, this time, to give talks in Danville, at the Crow Canyon Country Club, at the invitation of Chris Thomas, director of California Right to Life. And on Saturday, Ann and I gave a joint talk in Pleasant Hills, CA, on the best methods of sidewalk counseling.
On February 26, 2002, Monica Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, and I drove to the University of Notre Dame to protest a vile play whose proceeds have gone to pro-abortion organizations.
On March 1, I flew to Baltimore to speak to a group of pro-lifers at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia. I drove from there to Front Royal, Virginia, where I addressed about 40 people at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and did a program for Human Life International. Accompanying me on this trip were Jack Ames, Brian Clowes, Elizabeth Daub, and Camille Murphy.
Besides the usual visits to the abortion mills, joining Vote Life America (See “Face the Truth Inspires New Campaign”) at various pickets of pro-abortion politicians, staying in touch with other activist groups across the country, distributing our various videos, books and pamphlets, I have maintained a three-times-a-week Action News report which attempts to get behind the news you read in the secular press.
Along with most pro-lifers, one of my concerns has been the constant “life of the mother” exception that all pro-life candidates for public office have to introduce. In addressing this on one of my Action News reports, I said that such an exception:
. . . had three strikes against it; it would lead to abortion on demand, because life is based on health and in short order you would have a ‘health of the mother’ exception and abortion-on-demand. Secondly, this exception would lead the public to believe that abortion really is sometimes a necessary evil, something nobody really likes but sometimes inevitable. We studied case after case and found none where an abortion was really required to save a woman’s life.
There were the cases of ectopic pregnancy and cancerous uterus, but in such cases medical treatment to save a life – the woman’s – may result in the loss of the child but there is no intent to abort the child; and in these instances there is a principle of double effect at work, where a good is accomplished but with an unintended bad result, and where possible, as in some cases of cancerous uterus, the baby can be saved. But nobody has substantiated the claim that ‘life of the mother’ is a valid cause for a direct abortion. And third, this exception makes some human beings expendable for the sake of other human beings and counters the basic tenant that we are all created equal.
Yet politicians say that without this exception they could not get elected and that they could not get any laws restricting abortion passed in any legislatures. As things stand they are probably right. This is because of the perception allowed early on that there really are some necessary abortions—that abortion is sometimes a good. We heard a talk recently by a pro-life politician supported by hard-core pro-lifers. He is better than his pro-life opponent who down plays his own pro-life position.
Yet the inevitable exception for the ‘life of the mother’ hangs around his neck like the proverbial albatross. He feels that he must hang on to this exception. But we suspect that until and unless this exception is dropped, a genuine respect for the unborn child will not sink its roots, and the pro-life movement will not make the progress needed to change the law, secure a strong human life amendment or appeal to protections already guaranteed in our founding documents. As long as killing the child to save the mother is considered a necessary evil, it will hamper our efforts to protect all innocent life. Consequently, our job of educating the public is monumental. But we believe that we will ultimately succeed.”