Bill McIlvane leads on his tuba in Chicago [Photo by John Jansen]
The Pro-Life Action League’s fifth annual “Empty Manger” Chrismas Caroling Day December 22 was a tremendous success. Over 150 pro-lifers joined two caroling tours—the regular circuit in Chicago and a new circuit added this year in DuPage County.
Planned Parenthood “Deathscorts” Hear Carols
The Chicago caroling circuit began at the Planned Parenthood abortion facility at LaSalle and Division Streets. As usual, a crew of “deathscorts” (volunteer clinic escorts) flanked the clinic entrance during the caroling. At one caroler’s suggestion, the group also sang “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” This Advent standard was added to the repertoire at the other three clinics as well.
For the fifth straight year, activist Dan Gura and his daughter Corrina held a large banner at each caroling site that read, All I want for Christmas . . . is an end to abortion.
Veteran activists Luann and Ron Bloom and Beth Roland contributed to this year’s caroling day by renting a mini van to shuttle pro-lifers between caroling sites. Not only did this foster fellowship among carolers, but also made parking much easier.
A Tuba and an Open Door
The prayer group at Family Planning Associates on Washington Street was already in the midst of prayers when the carolers arrived for the second stop of the day. They joined in the caroling, accompanied by stalwart activist Bill McIlvaine on the tuba, while sidewalk counselors continued to offer help to women going in.
Caroling under the Gura banner in Chicago [Photo by John Jansen]
The third site was American Women’s Medical Center on Western and Diversey Avenues. Shortly after the group started singing, Joe Scheidler noticed that the door to the clinic was slightly ajar, and so directed the carolers to face the facility and sing even more loudly so those inside could hear the message of joy and hope the carols proclaim. The final Chicago stop was at Albany Surgical Medical Center on Elston Avenue.
DuPage Carolers Set Records
Because of the overwhelming grassroots movement opposing the new Planned Parenthood in Aurora, this year a separate round of caroling stops was added in the western suburbs. Eric Scheidler led groups in caroling at four abortion facilities in DuPage County.
The day began in Hinsdale at the ACU Health Center. Forty people gathered to offer praises and sing. Eric reminded carolers that the abortion facility is the opposite of Christmas: “It’s our joyful mission to bring Christmas, with it’s promise of life and hope even in the midst of great difficulties, to these dark places.”
More than 100 came out to carol in Aurora [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
The next stop was the Aanchor facility in Glen Ellyn. The caroling group from Hinsdale joined many new arrivals, until more than 70 faithful pro-lifers were gathered in song. A green minivan pulled into the lot and watched the caroling group for a few minutes, and then drove away.
Carolers Warmed at Women’s Choice Services
As winds picked up and a chill crept into the air, carolers headed to Downers Grove to visit the Access Health Center. Access shares a parking lot with Women’s Choice Services, a pregnancy resource center run by attorney Peter Breen, who has been working hard on the zoning fight over Planned Parenthood in Aurora. Peter provided coffee, donuts and a tour of their center before the caroling stint along 75th Street.
Caroling around the “empty manger” in Downers Grove [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
The final stop was Planned Parenthood Aurora. Just like at Planned Parenthood in Chicago, the abortion workers in Aurora anticipated the arrival of the caroling troupe. Four surly deathscorts played music, including some secular carols, over a boom box and danced around manically during the caroling
If it was their intention to drown the pro-lifers, they utterly failed. More than 100 hearty pro-life voices—the most yet for a caroling site—proclaimed God’s praises and the birth of the Savior was proclaimed loudly at the nation’s largest abortion facility.
Cookies And Hot Chocolate All Around
After the final stops of both caroling tours, both groups warmed up with hot chocolate and cookies. The DuPage group was hosted at Warehouse Church in Aurora while the Chicago group went to the Scheidler home on Chicago’s northwest side. Both parties agreed there could be no better way to prepare for the celebration of Christmas than by bringing the joyous news of Christ’s coming to places of despair and misery.