Joe and Ann Scheidler with Fr. Frank Pavone in Central Park during the tour
The Pro-Life Action League has been promoting the concept of the Face the Truth tour ever since launching its own tour in the summer of 2000. The League produced an excellent 11-minute video to help pro-lifers understand the rationale for these tours and to see how a tour actually looks out on the streets.
Among those who have picked up on the idea of showing the face of abortion to the average, uninitiated American is Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life. In the fall of 2002, after viewing the League’s Face the Truth video, Fr. Pavone decided that Priests for Life should bring the tour to New York, the home base of his ministry. On November 13, 2002, Joe and Ann Scheidler participated in a planning session at the Priests for Life headquarters in Staten Island, NY. The following day they joined a Face the Truth tour “preview” in Staten Island and Brooklyn.
New York Truth Tour Ten-Day Blitz
A full-scale New York Face the Truth tour was planned for April 1-10, 2003, with two days assigned to each of the five boroughs of New York City—Staten Island, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. When April finally arrived, the weather was far more like winter than spring and Fr. Pavone commented that they could just as well have scheduled the tour for December.
Priests for Life arranged for a tour bus complete with a lavatory to transport a core team from site to site during the entire ten-day tour, along with all the signs, which made setting up quick and convenient at each site. Amid rain, wind, snow, slush and the occasional dash of sunshine, the New York tour moved from borough to borough with graphic signs featuring first trimester abortions and fetal development.
Pro-life activists traveled to New York from as far away as Spokane, WA to join Fr. Pavone on the streets of New York and learn how to conduct a Face the Truth Tour. Jeff White, of Operation Rescue West, brought a group of teenagers from his Survivors pro-life organization from California to participate in the New York tour. Bob Newman, who has conducted several Face the Truth tours in the Pittsburgh area, Jack Ames of Defend Life in Baltimore, Chris Slattery, director of the Mother and Unborn Baby Care centers in New York, and Joe Foreman from Virginia were among those who gathered in New York for the tour.
Scheidlers Join Tour’s Snowiest Day
Joe and Ann Scheidler joined the New York tour on April 6 in Manhattan and April 7 in Brooklyn. The Manhattan sites were at Central Park and the New York Public Library. In addition to the vehicular traffic, there was a great deal of pedestrian traffic at the Central Park location.
Activists slog through the unseasonable snow with their signs
The teen Survivors distributed a leaflet written by Fr. Pavone on why it is necessary to display the graphic posters. There were a few extreme responses from passers-by, such as a young woman who told Ann Scheidler she “should be shot” for standing on Fifth Avenue holding a sign. But most reaction was either indifferent or positive.
In Brooklyn on Monday, April 7, heavy snow was predicted. At the first stop, although it was cold, the sky was clear. It was a busy intersection for both motor and pedestrian traffic. Rabbi Yehuda Levin joined the tour on Monday morning, underscoring the diverse support for the Face the Tour concept.
By the time the tour bus reached the second site of the day, snow was falling fast. Once the signs were in place along the roadway, they were covered in snow almost immediately. The demonstrators managed as best they could, wiping the snow from the posters every few minutes. Finally it had to be admitted that drivers could barely see the signs and had to keep their attention focused on the slippery streets, so the demonstration was halted after an hour. The last site of the day, another Brooklyn stop, was cancelled since there was no indication that the snow would relent.
Thousands of New Yorkers in the five boroughs were educated during the course of the New York Face the Truth tour. Fr. Pavone hopes to make these tours a regular part of New York life. Priests for Life has a good supply of the signs and will make them available to anyone in the area. Just call Priests for Life for details.
Links and Related Articles
- Priests for Life Gives Face the Truth a Trial Run in New York—December 2002 Action News article on PFL’s Truth tour workshop and test run
- Chicago Face the Truth 2003—full schedule and linked maps for July 9-19 Chicago Truth tour
- Face the Truth main page on this site