Carolers at the Aanchor abortion mill, Glen Ellyn, IL [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
The Pro-Life Action League’s 8th annual “Empty Manger” caroling day took place last Saturday, December 18 at nine local abortion facilities, four in DuPage County and five in Chicago.
In DuPage, the day began at ACU Health Center in Hinsdale. The crowd started out sparse, but by the end of the site, over 20 pro-lifers had joined the Tour. Carols rang out in the chilly morning air as several women entered and left the clinic.
Pro-Abortion Protesters Join the Tour
A lone pro-abortion counter-protester came as well, and two others joined her later in the site. They brought with them the infamous Keep Abortion Legal signs along with some nearly illegible hand-written signs reading Trust Women and other pro-abortion phrases.
Typically the League tries to keep the message of the “Empty Manger” caroling day separate from protest, but when pro-abortion forces bring the protest to our peaceful vigil, they leave us little recourse. League Executive Director Eric Scheidler had packed a bag of protest signs for just such an event.
Dueling protest signs in Hinsdale, IL [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
The Keep Abortion Legal signs were neutralized with the League’s Keep Murder Legal signs of the same design. These signs confuse the pro-abortion message with their similarity of design and incongruity of message. With a few Stop Abortion Now signs thrown in the mix, anyone but a very careful observer would not have known there were pro-choice protesters there at all!
Strong Winds in Glen Ellyn
The DuPage tour continued at Aanchor clinic in Glen Ellyn. Aanchor is located right on Illinois Rt. 38, a very busy highway, and the passing traffic whipped up quite a chill wind. But pro-lifers bore up manfully under the conditions and brought the joy and hope of Christmas to the darkness of the abortuary.
The three counter-protesters showed up again and again the League thwarted their protest with our own signs. In an insidious move, one counter-protester tried to get a small pro-life boy holding a Stop Abortion Now sign to hold one of her pro-abortion signs.
The kind hearted lad was about to hold the sign for her, assuming she needed him to as a favor, but fortunately the boy’s aunt was nearby to tell him not to and to upbraid the counter-protester for her mean-spirited trick.
Final Sites Draw Huge Crowds
Carolers outside Planned Parenthood’s “Abortion Fortress”, Aurora, IL [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
As new pro-lifers joined the tour at Access abortion mill in Downers Grove, the counter-protesters left. Apparently the cold, windy conditions were too much for them.
Now freed of the need to respond to their protest, more pro-lifers were available to sing. Though no one entered or left the clinic during our stop there, many passersby honked and waved in support.
At the last stop at Planned Parenthood’s “Abortion Fortress” in Aurora, over 50 pro-lifers came to share the message of Christmas. So many folks came to sing that caroling booklets ran out and some had to share. Local press covered the event and several women came out from inside Planned Parenthood to listen to the caroling along with the several “deathscorts” who heard all the carols.
After the last site, pro-lifers gathered at First Presbyterian Church downtown Aurora for cookies, hot coco and fellowship. Sandy Bradford, Mary Faye Vasen and Linda Dudley of First Pres were kind enough to arrange the space and refreshments.
Between the successful thwarting of the pro-abortion protesters and the clinic patrons and passersby who got a taste of the joy of Christmas, the DuPage Tour was a great success.
Illinois Choice Action Team Opposes Chicago Tour
Pro-abortion counter-protester in Chicago [Photo by Ann Scheidler]
The Chicago Empty Manger Christmas caroling tour drew a crowd of 40 carolers and numerous protesters from the Illinois Choice Action Team (ICAT).
At the first site, Family Planning Associates on Washington Street, the carolers arrived to find that the regular group of committed sidewalk counselors had already been braving the 17 degree cold for some time. Four pro-abortion counter-protesters were also present at the site.
The group increased greatly in number at the second site, Planned Parenthood on LaSalle and Division. Among the pro-lifers who joined the carolers at this site was Dan Gura (the father of League staffer Corrina Gura), who brought his banner reading, “All I want for Christmas…is an end to abortion.” The banner — which has been a part of all eight Chicago caroling tours dating back to 2003 — always generates numerous thumbs-up from passing drivers.
No Hassles from Police
Carolers outside Albany abortuary in Chicago [Photo by Ann Scheidler]
Although this year has seen many run-ins with the police over interpretation of Chicago’s “Bubble Zone” ordinance, the police didn’t show up on Saturday, and the carolers were able to stand within just a few feet of Planned Parenthood’s front door without impediment from the “deathscorts”.
At Planned Parenthood’s request, the ICAT protesters didn’t make an appearance there. But they did show up at the next site at All Women’s Health, at 2000 W. Armitage Ave., where one of them tried (and failed) to drown out the caroling by standing nearby and continually shaking a large miraca.
The next stop was American Women’s Health on at 2744 N. Western Avenue, where the pro-lifers were nearly halfway done with their program of carols before the ICAT protesters showed up. When they did, they unfurled a large banner with the words “Abortion providers save lives” — a claim with which the surviving family members of women who have been killed at the hands of an abortionist would beg to differ.
Cookies and Fellowship at Scheidler Home
The Chicago caroling tour concluded — unaccompanied by pro-abortion protesters — at Albany Medical/Surgical Center at 5086 N. Elston Avenue. After wrapping up with “Silent Night,” the carolers enjoyed hot chocolate and homemade cookies at Joe and Ann Scheidler’s home.