Illinois’ annual commemoration of Roe v. Wade, SpeakOut Illinois, was held Sunday, January 16 at the Hyatt Regency Oak Brook Hotel. Thirty-five Illinois pro-life organizations co-sponsor the conference, coordinated by the Pro-Life Action League’s Executive Director, Ann Scheidler, and Tommie Romano, a former employee of the League and the originator of the SpeakOut Illinois concept.
New Insights—New Tactics
The theme for the 2005 Conference was “New Insights—New Tactics,” an exploration of how current information on the impact of abortion drives the pro-life movement and inspires new and more sophisticated approaches. John Morales of Relevant Radio served as Master of Ceremonies for the day, which began with a prayer offered by Bishop Jerome Listecki, an Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago who has recently been appointed Bishop of LaCrosse, WI.
Ann Scheidler (left) and Julie McCreevy man the League booth [Photo by EJS]
The keynote address was delivered by Serrin Foster, President of Feminists for Life, who demonstrated that the nineteenth century founders of feminism were adamantly opposed to abortion. She expressed the hope that, once her audience understood the real meaning of feminism, they would be proud to call themselves feminists.
Workshops Educate and Train
In the first of two sets of workshops, Vicki Thorn, Director of the National Office of Post Abortion Healing and Reconciliation, spoke on new developments in the research on the psychological impact of abortion on both men and women. Mary Anne Hackett, President of Illinois Right to Life, reviewed the history of the pro-life movement and offered insights on the future. And Doug Scott, Executive Director of Life Decisions International, exposed Planned Parenthood’s agenda and its massive funding machinery, as well as methods of stopping America’s #1 abortion provider.
In the second set of workshops, Eve Sanchez Silver, former Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation board member, discussed her confrontation with Komen’s directors about the conflict of their funding major abortion provider Planned Parenthood when there is a known link between abortion and breast cancer. A panel of women who had considered abortion but chose life for their babies discussed what changed their hearts and how counselors at pregnancy centers and on the sidewalk can be more effective. And Rev. Bob VandenBosch, President of Concerned Christian Americans, gave practical advice on how pro-lifers can effectively bring faith into the public sqaure.
SpeakOut Illinois CDs Available
An awards dinner followed the workshops, with an invocation by Rev. Ceasar LeFlore, Director of LEARN Midwest. Then Joe Scheidler presented Sandy Rios, a popular Christian talk show host and activist, with the Henry Hyde Life Leadership Award. Sandy gave a stirring talk on the impact of the Word of God on her life.
The day concluded with the annual Memorial Service, which featured women, men and young people who were aided by the prayers, care and compassion of pro-lifers, especially those directly involved in providing pregnancy resources.
Over three hundred Illinois pro-lifers attended the annual SpeakOut event. CDs of the presentations are available from LCE Media.