Legal Update

Eric Scheidler next to a 'No Protesting' sign in Aurora, IL

The City of Aurora dragged their heels for weeks on taking down several “No Picketing” signs, as required by the settlement agreement [Photo by Matt Yonke]

It’s been nearly three years since Planned Parenthood opened their giant “Abortion Fortress” in Aurora, Illinois. The thuggish and deceitful tactics they used to build the facility spawned a trio of legal challenges.

Aurora Settlement Signed, Implemented

On March 5, the settlement agreement between pro-lifers and the City of Aurora was finally signed and became binding. The agreement recognizes pro-lifers’ right to pray, protest and sidewalk counsel outside Planned Parenthood and requires that City employees will not treat pro-lifers like criminals.

On May 26, sidewalk counselors and prayer captains were introduced to the Agreement at a meeting at Our Lady of Mercy Church, near Planned Parenthood with Eric and Ann Scheidler and Thomas More Society attorney Tom Brejcha. They were most excited to learn that the Agreement gives counselors greater freedom on the roadway that cars use to enter Planned Parenthood.

We are currently trying to schedule the first of the regular meetings with City of Aurora representatives called for in the Agreement, but our proposed dates continue to be rejected.

Planned Parenthood Zoning Case Advances in Court

On May, 21, two and a half years after the zoning case against Planned Parenthood was first filed, Illinois Circuit Court Judge Neal Cerne refused to dismiss two of the five counts in the complaint, in the face of four different Motions to Dismiss from the City of Aurora and Planned Parenthood. This means that the zoning case will move forward in his court.

Judge Cerne will review the process by which Planned Parenthood received their permits and approvals through a deliberate scheme of deception, as well as the dubious way the case has been handled by city officials, especially the Zoning Board of Appeals. A status hearing is coming in July.

Will the Illinois Supreme Court Take up Scheidler v. Trombley?

Eric Scheidler has appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court to reverse a trial court judge’s ruling that a new state law meant to protect grassroots activists from intimidation effectively granted Planned Parenthood a “License to Lie” when they deliberately defamed the Pro-Life Action League in ads and letters. If Eric ultimately loses he will be liable for over $317,000 in legal fees—despite being the injured party.

League attorneys at the Thomas More Society filed two motions with the Supreme Court. The first asks the court to direct the Appellate Court to take Eric’s appeal, and was denied in May. The second, and far more important motion, asks the high court to hear the appeal themselves. A decision is not expected before fall.

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