Ada Scheidler holds a protest sign at a rally outside Planned Parenthood Aurora [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
On October 29, a piece ran on Moody Radio’s national program Prime Time America highlighting the libel suit Pro-Life Action League executive director Eric Scheidler is fighting against Planned Parenthood of Illinois and their CEO Steve Trombley, and how the Illinois Citizens Participation Act has been turned inside-out by Planned Parenthood’s lawyers.
The Citizens Participation Act was intended by the Illinois General Assembly to protect grassroots activists from being deprived of their constitutional rights under the threat of baseless but costly lawsuits brought by their powerful opponents. Essentially, Planned Parenthood is arguing that Eric only sued them for libel in order to intimidate them out of continuing to get their Aurora abortuary opened.
In reality, Eric sued Planned Parenthood for libel because of the ugly full-page ad they took out in the Aurora Beacon News and other local papers, declaring that the Pro-Life Action League has a “well documented history of advocating violence,” and serving up a hash of false accusations leveled at Eric’s father, League national director Joe Scheidler during his 1998 NOW v. Scheidler trial. The ad also failed to mention that Joe was ultimately vindicated in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Last year, Judge Judith Brawka agreed with Planned Parenthood’s reading of this law and struck down four counts of libel, and now Planned Parenthood is demanding over $317,000 in legal fees from Eric. Meanwhile, Eric is appealing the judge’s ruling.
Listen to the Moody Radio report produced by Paul Butler for more information on this strange but important case.