Defend Life’s Face the Truth Tour ran from August 7 – 11, 2001 and reached sixteen stops across Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware and Virginia. Six hundred volunteers joined the Tour and exposed the truth about abortion to an estimated 200,000 people driving the various intersections and downtown streets.
Andrea Hussle Joins As Tour Director
At Ann Scheidler’s suggestion Jack Ames, president of Defend Life, recruited Andrea Hussle to serve as Tour Director. Andrea spent several months organizing local community involvement, contacting the press and arranging for lunches, dinners and accommodations for the pro-lifers who joined the Tour. Andrea conceived the concept of the captains for each site, which turned out to be a highly effective organizational tool. Andrea secured the services of her brother, Michael, who designed and maintained a website for the Maryland Face the Truth Tour.
Joe & Ann Scheidler served as consultants to Jack Ames and to Andrea Hussle as they prepared for the Maryland Face the Truth Tour. The Scheidlers also provided for Tom Morrison of Arlington Heights, Illinois, to drive the Pro-Life Action League van full of signs to Maryland for the Tour. Morrison was invaluable in helping with set-up at each of the Maryland Tour sites.
Joe Scheidler Relives Memories in Falls Church
The Falls Church, VA site was particularly meaningful to Joe Scheidler. In 1985, while Scheidler was sidewalk counseling at the abortion clinic there, head nurse Joan Appleton snapped his picture. Eight years later, Appleton, now a pro-life activist, and Scheidler shared the stage at a pro-life banquet in St. Paul, MN. Appleton appeared at one of the Pro-Life Action League’s “Meet the Abortion Providers” seminars, is featured on the video, “Meet the Abortion Providers” and now heads up a ministry to former abortion providers called “The Centurions.” The Falls Church abortion mill, Commonwealth Women’s Clinic, closed soon after the visit from the Maryland Truth Tour.
Andrea Hussle recalls that the Falls Church site was “good, but difficult—there was a lot more reaction on both sides. I spent a lot of my time talking to people with negative reactions.”
In general the Scheidlers noted that there was less vocal reaction from motorists in Maryland than there had been in the Chicago area.
“The Maryland Truth Tour was a wonderful experience,” said Joe Scheidler. “It was exceptionally well coordinated and the spirit among the participants was enthusiastic. We met some great people on that tour!”
Mass with Fr. West of Priests for Life
Fr. Peter West of Priests for Life joined the tour for two days and celebrated Mass for the Catholic participants. Other priests and Protestant ministers joined the tour in Washington DC, as well as other cities. Sr. Nancy Hanson made the entire Tour, proudly wearing her habit and drawing the ire of many passing motorists.
At Frederick a young woman pulled off the road, parked in a Baker’s Square parking lot and marched up to Joe Scheidler to tell him that showing these graphic pictures hurts women. She told him she had had an abortion as a teenager. In the ensuing conversation with Scheidler she admitted that she had not wanted the abortion and would not ever choose abortion again. She told Scheidler that he should just engage in conversations with people instead of holding graphic signs along the highway. Scheidler asked her what made her stop to talk. “I saw your sign,” she answered.
Another woman saw among the signs a notice that abortion was unsafe for women. She was just coming from an abortion that morning and was feeling sick and experience severe cramping. She had thought that was just normal, but after seeing the sign, she went straight to a hospital emergency room. A pro-life nurse happened to be working in the emergency room and reported the incident to the pro-lifers later that day. It turned out that the woman had a perforated uterus and needed immediate care. The Face the Truth Tour may have saved her life.
Babies’ and woman’s lives are saved when we show the truth about abortion. For a free copy of the League’s video, “Face the Truth,” contact the Pro-Life Action League office (773-777-2900).