Pro-lifers outside the Eola Community Center See larger version [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
It was cold, windy and exceptionally dark on Wednesday, February 11, when over 40 pro-lifers from all over northern Illinois joined the League to protest Planned Parenthood’s so-called “Community Forum” on Reproductive Justice at the Eola Community Center in Aurora, IL.
Planned Parenthood has been holding these Forums all over Illinois in support of Illinois House Bill 5615, the Reproductive Justice and Access Act (RJAA).
FOCA for Illinois
The RJAA is essentially the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA) on the state level. It would remove what few restrictions the state currently has on abortion, end abstinence education in schools and all but eliminate doctors’ and pharmacists’ rights to refuse abortion or contraception on the basis of conscience.
The RJAA was defeated in the legislature last year after the League and other Illinois pro-life groups led a massive campaign of calls and letters to Illinois state officials. Now, Planned Parenthood is trying to push the legislature to bring it back.
Planned Parenthood’s Strange “Community Forum”
Planned Parenthood’s “Capacity Crowd” [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
Planned Parenthood doesn’t hold community meetings for the purpose of informing the community and fostering dialogue. If they wanted to do that, the meeting would have been open to the public.
Instead, to attend the meeting, they required people to sign up beforehand on their website and bring a photo ID.
Once word got out that League communications director Eric Scheidler was planning a protest of the meeting, Planned Parenthood claimed their registration system had had a glitch and everyone would need to re-register. At the same time, they claimed that they were booked to capacity and could accept no new registrations.
Local pro-life student Greg Guest had signed up for the meeting prior to the glitch, brought his photo ID, and was told his name was not on the list and he would not be allowed in. Others were told it was a private member-only meeting.
Witnesses said every person entering the meeting was known by name to the Planned Parenthood representatives guarding the door, and though they claimed to be booked to capacity, fewer than twenty people attended the “Community Forum” and there were numerous empty seats.
Pro-Lifers Outnumber Planned Parenthood 3 to 1
Outside, over 40 pro-lifers picketed in the spot assigned to them by the Fox Valley Park Distric police department, which was conveniently situated directly outside the room where Planned Parenthood was holding their closed door meeting.
The two parking lot lights adjacent the picketers’ spot were conspicuously not lit and the moonless sky made for a very dark spot to protest. Despite the cold and the darkness, the mood was positive as pro-lifers carried signs reading “Planned Parenthood Lies to You”, “Stop Abortion Now” and “Planned Parenthood Kills Babies.”
Pro-lifers picket Planned Parenthood [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
As many picketed, others handed out literature about the RJAA, detailing its many pernicious aspects. Almost 300 pieces were handed out to people entering and leaving the community center.
Planned Parenthood hoped their forum would buy them credibility as a positive community organization and would paint a pretty face on their deadly operation. The League’s protest exposed Planned Parenthood for what they are.
“When we announced this protest, Planned Parenthood abandoned the idea of having a community meeting. They know how commited the pro-lifers of the Fox Valley really are,” Eric Scheidler said.
Stalwart activism like this has made it clear to Planned Parenthood, city governments and law enforcement that the League is serious and in it for the long haul in Aurora.
Thanks to all those faithful activists who braved the weather and sacrificed an evening to make this event a success.