Fox 23 Coverage of Rockford Truth Tour
Wednesday, August 12, the Pro-Life Action League joined forces with the Rockford Pro-Life Initiative to show Rockford residents the true face of abortion. Rockford is one of the nation’s abortion hot-spots and local news was eager to cover the story.
The Tour began at Riverside Boulevard and Alpine Drive. Local activist Kevin Rilott told League staff to expect a lower turnout at this site since many Rockford pro-lifers would be at the clinic praying their regular Wednesday rosary. As it turned out, over fifty people came to hold signs, a huge turnout for a Truth day outside of the summer Face the Truth Tour. Every graphic sign was deployed along with a number of “Stop Abortion Now” picket signs.
Anger And Counter-Protesters At State Street
Volunteers hold third trimester abortion signs in Rockford [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
The second site of the day was at State Street and Alpine Drive. This site has been a source of trouble on previous tours. The business owners have been vocally opposed to the League’s presence and this year was no exception. As with the first site, Rockford pro-lifers come out in force and every graphic sign was displayed.
Shortly after the site was set up, two young women stopped and spoke with Tour captain Eric Scheidler, furious over the graphic display. They offered several arguments against the Truth Tour, but seemed to be most upset because one of them was pregnant, and said she might have to get an abortion because the baby had no brain. Eric tried to convince her that even in such a dire circumstance, abortion is not the answer.
The young women finally walked over to a nearby drug store and bought supplies to make their own signs, which read “These signs are gruesome! Complain: 773-777-2900“—the League’s phone number. And in fact, about 40 people did call the League to complain, including one woman who had assumed she was calling to complain about abortion itself, not the League’s use of the signs.
Counter-protester encourages people to call the League in Rockford [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
At the same time, crews from two different local television stations came to report on the Tour. Several other drivers stopped to complain, some getting into heated exchanges with Tour staff and volunteers.
While all this was going on, the owner of the CVS where the counter-protesters had bought their supplies had called police and attempted to have the police shut down the tour. When police told her that pro-lifers were on the public parkway and did not have to move, she insisted that no pro-lifers could enter her store.
When Kevin Rilott decided to confront the store owner with his video camera to see if she was willing to go on record with her bigoted opinions and she decided that she didn’t mind pro-lifers in the store after all, as long as they were buying something.
Tour Finishes Strong At Perryville Road
Pro-lifers hold Baby Malachi signs on Perryville Road [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
After lunch at Old Country Buffet generously provided by the Rockford Pro-Life Initiative, the Tour finished the day at State Street and Perryville Road. As with the first two sites, every graphic sign and many “Stop Abortion Now” signs were displayed.
Reaction to the Tour was louder and laden with profanity, much more so than Tour Staff had observed on July’s Face the Truth Tour. One woman pulled up to the Tour’s home base in her car, parked quite askew and got out of her car screaming, “How many of you have adopted children? How many?”
As it happened, of the small crowd at home base at the time, the Voissem family had adopted, League staffer Corrina Gura has sisters who were adopted, and another pro-lifer had an adopted brother, clearly putting the lie to the woman’s accusation that pro-lifers only care about unborn babies.
While most people would have been silenced by such evidence, this woman was angered further. “Well, what about the rest of you?” she screamed, and continued to hurl accusations at Tour staff and volunteers. At this point it became apparent to League staff the woman was slurring her speech and was very likely intoxicated. As she was driving, the police were called to make sure she didn’t harm herself or others.
The League was excited to come to Rockford this year because the city is home to one of the most notorious abortuaries in the country, set up in an old grade school. Owner Wayne Webster harangues the pro-lifers there with obscenities and even piled bags of manure in the parking lot to make pro-lifers miserable. A video of a man with a pit bull [Warning: This video contains profanity and racist language] swearing at pro-lifers and threatening to sic his dog on them has gone viral on YouTube.
The Rockford Pro-Life Initiative’s Kevin Rilott leads pro-lifers in a prayer to close the day. [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
Even the city fathers have made life miserable for pro-lifers, with numerous unconstitutional restrictions on their freedom of speech which have had to be removed by endless lawsuits. But every year when the League brings Face the Truth to Rockford, numbers at the abotion mill drop for weeks. The vocal reaction, both positive and negative, to the tour is a good indicator that the League struck a nerve with Rockford residents which will likely produce the same result as previous years.
At the close of the Tour, League national director Joe Scheidler thanked the volunteers for coming and reminded them that they were fulfilling Christ’s command to teach by informing Rockford of what abortion does to Jesus’ precious little ones. Thanks to the Rockford Pro-Life Initiative and all the volunteers from across Illinois, this was one of the League’s most successful Truth days to date.