The 2004 Face the Truth campaign shifted into its fall phase with monthly Truth Days in downtown Chicago, starting with an “Early Bird” Tour on Wednesday, August 25. We began at 7:30 a.m. at Wacker Drive and Madison Street, a favorite Tour site, reaching throngs of morning commuters walking from the nearby Metra stations to workplaces in the Loop.
Early Birds Flock to August Tour
The League provided donuts and coffee to the volunteers to encourage participation at such an early hour. Fifty activists turned out, the largest number ever for a one-day Tour, far above our expectations. I had only brought thirty signs, and thought they would be more than enough.
Soon all the signs were out on the street, and half a dozen volunteers were distributing flyers up and down Madison Street by the hundreds. I organized the additional volunteers into a prayer circle beside one of the flowerbeds on Wacker Drive. They prayed several Rosaries for all those passing by the display.
Though the supply of signs was short, the coffee and donuts held out until our end time of 9:00. Volunteers appreciated the “early bird” breakfast, and donations from generous passers-by covered the entire cost.
Our second stop on this half-day Tour was along Lake Shore Drive near Buckingham Fountain from 10:00 to 11:30. Our committed volunteers stood fast through a light summer rain during the middle part of the stop. We again set out all thirty signs, while additional volunteers did “umbrella duty.” Hundreds of drivers saw our abortion signs, and much of the reaction was positive. The Chicago Police were particularly cooperative at this site. The rain stopped long enough for our group to enjoy a picnic lunch in the park after the Tour.
September Counter-Protest Fizzles
Shortly before the September 22 Truth Day, we received word that the same group of pro-abort thugs that disrupted our Campus Tour in the Spring were calling for a counter-protest. We contacted the police, powered up our video cameras and arranged for our lawyer to be available during the two-site Tour.
A single pro-abort showed up at our first site at Daley Plaza during lunchtime. She came late, held a crude little fluorescent pink sign across the street on Washington for a while, and left early. There were no counter-protesters at the next site at Adams Street and Wacker Drive.
Meanwhile, with the help of forty volunteers our powerful display at Daley Plaza reached hundreds of lunchtime pedestrians and drivers. Their response was mostly positive, with the unfortunate exception of a man who threw a cup of iced tea at the back of nine-year-old Kyle Cramblit, who was holding an Eighth Week of Life sign with his mother, Nancy.
Tour Brings Out Abortion Regrets
A man approached Joan McCarthy, who was holding a Life sign outside the County Building on Clark Street, and said, “I wish you’d been here before I made the mistake.” He told her that he and his girlfriend decided to abort their baby and he had regretted the decision every day since.
At Adams and Wacker in the aftenoon, a young woman approached Luann Bloom in tears after standing and watching the Tour for a while. She told Luann that her parents had forced her to have an abortion when she was sixteen, and she regretted it deeply.
When a man passing by barked at Luann, “How dare you?” the young woman began to defend Luann. She held Luann’s sign for a while to be part of the Tour, and took information on Project Rachel, a program for post-abortion healing.
Julie McCreevy gave Project Rachel information to another young woman who had decided against abortion herself, but whose friend was suffering terribly from three abortions in the course of one year. But Julie also spoke to a man who boasted about his grandmother, a registered nurse who had performed illegal abortions during the Great Depression, including several on herself, killing his aunts and uncles.
October Tour Highlights the Beauty of Life
In recognition of Respect Life Month, the October 20 “Life Day” featured only pictures of living babies, born and unborn. We began at 7:30 a.m. back at Madison Street and Wacker Drive, again providing coffee and donuts for our early bird volunteers. The signs east of Wacker depicted a fetus at eight weeks, while those west of Wacker showed a variety of infants.
Like the Life Day last year, we received some negative responses, despite the total lack of graphic abortion pictures. Shortly after we began setting up, a Chicago police officer arrived in response to “multiple complaints” about our “disruptive and offensive” signs. The officer was courteous and professional as we explained the purpose of our display.
One passer-by told a volunteer that her picture of a cute black baby with the caption “God’s Gift of Life” was “disgusting.” Another told League staffer Annie Casselman, who was holding another baby picture, that “Your mother should have aborted you.”
“He’s the Love of My Life”
But most comments were positive, like those offered by a woman who approached us right before we set up. She had apparently seen us on an earlier Truth Day, and thanked us for being there. She told Annie and me that she had faced an unplanned pregnancy twenty years before and was told by five different friends to get an abortion. Her son just celebrated his twentieth birthday. “He’s the love of my life,” she said, with tears welling up in her eyes.
A man working in one of the buildings on that corner came out and gave Ann Scheidler a card with a note of thanks and a donation towards the coffee and donuts.
At our second stop at the Art Institute of Chicago, on Michigan Avenue, a limousine of tourists from the Netherlands pulled up and asked Luann Bloom about our display. They told Luann that the Netherlands are “Sodom and Gemorrah” and gratefully accepted pro-life literature.
Three dozen volunteers participated in the Life Day, including several who joined us for the first time. Several hundred copies of the excellent “How You Began” flyer were distributed to the public.
November Tour Tagets Fay Clayton Award
The first site for our November 18 Truth Day was chosen to coincide with an award being given to NOW attorney Fay Clayton at the 410 Club in the Wrigley Building. Our group was spread out along the east side of Michigan Avenue with their signs in full view as guests began to arrive for the event—including Fay Clayton herself, who exited a cab right in the middle of the display. She quickly darted past the protest and into the building.
In addition to large, graphic abortion signs, many volunteers held small “8-1 Victory” signs from last year’s Supreme Court victory celebration, reminding Clayton of her loss before the high court in Scheidler v. NOW. Other protestors held the “Perjury?” signs, which feature Clayton’s face.
Next we moved a few blocks away to Madison Street, between Clark and LaSalle, another heavily-trafficked spot, where we distributed hundreds of copies of the “Sing a Little Louder” flyer. This site featured a long row of Jesus signs in front of St. Peter’s Church, an appropriate spot with its own graphic image—a giant crucifix facing the street. Thankfully we had no complaints from the Franciscan friars who run St. Peter’s. Recently the pastor called police to stop a pro-lifer from distributing Catholic voter guides before the election.
Two pro-aborts showed up with an anarchist flag. My father and I suspected one of them was the masked attacker who splattered us with black dye during the April 7 Campus Truth Tour .
Face the Truth will resume in the spring, with monthly Truth Days leading up to the major “Summer Blitz” Truth Tour, July 6-16, 2005.