Fox Valley Pro-Lifers Show Their Stuff

Monthly protest at PP Aurora, August 2010 [Photo by Sam Scheidler]The pro-life community of Illinois’ Fox Valley showed what it’s made of this past Saturday during the monthly protest at Planned Parenthood Aurora, with a strong showing of 70 activists. We’ve held this protest every third Saturday of the month since November 2007. August can be a tough time for pro-life activism, with summer vacations, high temperatures and back-to-school responsibilities tending to dampen participation.

Fox Valley Pro-Lifers Rise to the Challenge

So I issued a challenge to Fox Valley pro-lifers to make a special effort to come out for Saturday’s protest. I e-mailed them about the great turnout at the Rockford, Illinois Face the Truth Day earlier in the month, and said I’d hate to see the Fox Valley outdone.

Protest at PP Aurora, August 2010

Knights of Columbus Council 1369 hosts a Rosary across from Planned Parenthood, August 20 [Photo by Sam Scheidler]

The response was fantastic, with one of the most well-attended monthly protests of the year. From 9:00-10:30 a.m., we picketed, prayed and chanted together as the moderate morning temperatures gave way to hot, humid conditions. Also encouraging was the turnout for a monthly Rosary held concurrent with the protest, hosted by the Knights of Columbus Council 1369 at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Naperville, under the direction of Knight John Zabinski. Twenty people prayed a Rosary in the field across from Planned Parenthood, and then most joined the protest on New York Street.

New Judge in Zoning Case

In my remarks after the protest, I thanked the upbeat crowd for rising to the challenge. I also shared an update on the zoning case against Planned Parenthood, which has just moved to another judge—the seventh in the case so far! In June, Neale Cerne ruled that the court will review the dismissal of the case by the Aurora Zoning Board of Appeals—a significant defeat for Planned Parenthood. But then Cerne recused himself from the case because he is neighbors with the parents of plaintiffs’ attorney Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society.

Protest at PP Aurora, August 2010

Augustine Payne holds a sign across the street from the picket [Photo by Sam Scheidler]

The new judge, Thomas C. Dudgeon, met the attorneys for all three parties to the case—Planned Parenthood, the Aurora Zoning Board and Families Against Planned Parenthood—before his bench Friday, August 20. He will spend an entire morning with them in October on “case management.” My impression is that Judge Dudgeon is a straight arrow, a by-the-book judge who wants to get his head around this complicated case. I was encouraged that he intends to devote a whole morning to it.

Exciting Plans in the Works for Fall

Before closing the protest with a prayer and “Amazing Grace,” I promised that some dynamic plans are coming together in the fight against Planned Parenthood Aurora, including marking the third anniversary of Planned Parenthood’s opening October 2. Stay tuned!

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