Joe (left) joins Irish activists protesting at a Marie Stopes center in Dublin, which refers Irish women to abortion facilities in England [Photo by Ann Scheidler]
Joe Scheidler gave the opening talk at Ireland’s Youth Defence Fourth International Conference in Dublin on March 24. He spoke on the role of the Supreme Court, both in his own RICO case, NOW v. Scheidler and with respect to the anticipated fall of Roe v. Wade.
Scheidler gave a brief background on the Supreme Court and some of its more notorious rulings, such as the Dred Scott decision of 1857 in which the Court ruled that blacks “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.” He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it.
Roe v. Wade, Scheidler said, is another ruling which will be forever hailed as a travesty. Attempts to soften the blow of Roe v. Wade, or to overturn it entirely, have been made for the past thirty-three years. American citizens never had the chance to vote on whether they wanted abortion on demand, Scheidler said, and polls show that they clearly do not support the wide-open parameters of Roe.
European Pro-Lifers Look to U.S.
When Scheidler mentioned the recently passed legislation in South Dakota, which would outlaw nearly all abortions, the audience erupted in enthusiastic applause. Irish and European pro-lifers are encouraged by the signs of a turning tide in the United States, and the impact that will have on the rest of the world. Scheidler told the international audience that he fully expected Roe v. Wade to be either overturned or significantly undercut in the near future, and that once America outlaws abortion, it will have a ripple effect on the rest of the world.
Turning to the NOW v. Scheidler case, Scheidler said, there is a bright side to the Court. He explained how the Justices on the current court seemed well informed and genuinely concerned about the broad implications of applying the racketeering statute to political protesters. He emphasized the importance of the First Amendment in the United States and the Court’s protection of First Amendment rights, even for those whose message is unwelcome.
Speakers from Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, the United States and Ireland covered a broad spectrum of pro-life issues during the three-day international conference. Organizers from Youth Defence also provided traditional Irish entertainment each evening of the conference, including Irish music and a Ceili dance. Joe Scheidler’s wife, Ann, accompanied him on the trip to Ireland and had opportunities to discuss pro-life concerns with attendees from England, Ireland, Africa and Asia.
Scheidlers Join Marie Stopes Protest
The Scheidlers and several other American pro-life activists joined Youth Defence in their regular protest of the Marie Stopes abortion referral center. Over one hundred protesters lined both sides of the street in front of the center, chanted pro-life slogans and held signs alerting passing motorists to the tragedy of abortion.
Following the Youth Defence conference, the Scheidlers went to Northern Ireland at the invitation of Precious Life President Bernie Smyth to address a group of activists who regularly counsel outside the abortion referral center in Belfast. Although Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, abortion is not permitted there, due to the determined efforts of Precious Life. Members of Precious Life are on duty every day and every hour that the referral center is open, offering women alternatives and telling them the truth about abortion.
The Scheidlers then spent a few days touring Ireland before heading back to the United States. One of the benefits of attending a pro-life conference outside the U.S. is the contact with like-minded people from other parts of the world. The pro-life world is virtually of one mind in the effort to restore respect for the unborn, spare women the tragedy of abortion and expose the propaganda that has led to the acceptance of abortion.
Links and Related Pages
National Director Warns Ulster Activists: “Keep Abortion out of Ireland”—Story in December 2002 Action News