Huge picket along New York St. during the Oct. 27 Rally—See larger version [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
Despite brisk temperatures, a biting wind, and threats of rain, a crowd of 1,000 activists from all walks of life gathered for the Pro-Life Action League’s “We’re Here for Life” Rally outside the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Aurora, IL—the largest abortion facility in the U.S.
Rally Features Prayer Walk, Picket and More
Many people began the day by taking a one-mile prayer walk around the facility. They then formed a formidable picket line along New York Street, which stretched all the way from Eola Road one-fifth of a mile to Oakhurst Drive.
Prayer walk around the Planned Parenthood block [Photo by Sylvia Keppel]
The League provided picketers signs with various messages: Planned Parenthood: BAD for Aurora, Stop Abortion Now, Planned Parenthood LIES to You, and Aurora Rechaza la Clinica de Aborto Planned Parenthood. Many passersby showed their support by honking, waving, or giving a thumbs-up gesture to pro-life crowd.
Across the street from the picket, some three dozen activists put on a “Life Display” with large signs of born and unborn babies, while on the public walkway adjacent to the clinic property, children wrote pro-life messages using sidewalk chalk.
Decorated white crosses memorialize abortion victims [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
Special Rememberance for Unborn Babies
Two hundred pro-lifers sponsored small crosses commemorating babies killed by abortion and erected them on the public right-of-way along New York Street. The crosses were decorated in memory of the specific unborn baby spiritually adopted by each sponsor.
Many participants also brought items for a “Baby Shower” to benefit local pregnancy resource centers. Their gifts overflowed the several Pack’n Plays set up to collect donations.
Kemper and Scheidler Exhort the Crowd To Stand True
The Rally’s various spheres of activity concluded at 11:00 a.m. and the crowd gathered along the west side of Oakhurst Drive to hear a talk by Bryan Kemper of Stand True Ministries. Kemper spoke of the horror of abortion that he had witnessed first-hand, and exhorted the faithful to keep up the fight for life.
Bryan Kemper speaks to the pro-life crowd [Photo by Sylvia Keppel]
Following Kemper’s talk, the League’s Eric Scheidler, who coordinated the event, reiterated Kemper’s call to stay active and prayed together with the crowd that God would reveal to each heart there what commitment He is asking for.
Aurora Police Violate Pro-Lifers’ Rights
The Aurora police did a good job of keeping the peace and defending pro-lifers’ First Amendment rights, until near end of the Rally when the crowd gathered for Kemper’s talk. The Aurora Chief of Police William Powell had arrived, and objected to pro-lifers standing on the East side of Oakhurst to hear the talks.
Officers began to threaten pro-lifers standing on the sidewalk there with arrest for violating an ordinance against residential picketing—even though most of them didn’t have signs of any kind! Police even called in a paddy wagon.
Eric Scheidler closes the “We’re Here for Life” Rally [Photo by Sylvia Keppel]
Jason Craddock of the TMS Pro-Life Law Center, who was attending the rally with his family, tried to reason with Chief Powell and Aurora Corporation Counsel Alayne Weingartz, also present. Craddock didn’t get very far with them, but gained valueable insights for the League’s federal lawsuit against the City of Aurora for First Amendment violations.
Monthly Protests Planned
Despite the difficulties with police, the Rally was a tremendous success—a great morale booster for the pro-lifers of the Fox Valley.
Building on the Rally’s success, Scheidler has called for monthly protests at Planned Parenthood’s “Abortion Fortress” in Aurora, every third Saturday of the month. Upcoming protest dates are November 17, December 15 and January 19.
Meanwhile, the local Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood group continues to maintain a prayerful pro-life witness on-site during all hours that Planned Parenthood is open.
Links for More Information
- Families Against Planned Parenthood—Website of the local Fox Valley pro-life group
- Looks Like We’re Not Going Away—Rally report by Roger at the FAPP blog
- Free speech rights under threat—Eric Scheidler’s report on the police issues at the Rally
- Stand True Ministries—Bryan Kemper’s group