“Face the Truth” Tour in West Chicago, IL [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
The Pro-Life Action League’s 11th annual “Face the Truth” Tour is off to a great start with six sites in Chicago’s western suburbs. The Tour scored its first victory even before demonstrations began July 9.
Lawsuit Filed, West Chicago Backs Down
Two days before the start of the Tour, City of West Chicago officials contacted the League’s attorneys at the Thomas More Society (TMS) and told them our planned Tour site—the first of the Tour—would be in violation of a new ordinance restricting public protest. The city had learned of the Tour from a fax sent by TMS to the chief of police, a courtesy extended to all chiefs of police of the cities and villages we visit each summer, informing them of our peaceful protest plans.
When it appeared West Chicago was willing to shut down the Tour and arrest participants, attorneys Thomas Brejcha and Peter Breen drew up a lawsuit to file in federal court. The threat of a costly court defeat quickly resolved the situation: the Tour would go on and West Chicago would amend their unconstitutional city codes.
Tri-Cities Area Faces the Truth
The site in West Chicago at North Avenue and Rt. 59 came off smoothly with great weather, good turnout and cooperation from police.
West Chicago was the first of three new sites in the Tri-Cities area. The good weather and police cooperation continued at the next site at Randall Road and Rt. 38 in St. Charles. Reporters from the St. Charles Republican and the Sun-Times News Group came out to cover the Tour, and a police officer thanked Tour director Eric Scheidler for “making his day.”
After a fantastic lunch hosted by stalwart activist Nancy Weber and her daughters Dolores and Patty, the Tour moved on to its final site of the day at Randall Road and Fabyan Parkway in Batavia. During the site, Eric Scheidler gave an interview to Relevant Radio’s Drew Mariani on the importance of using graphic images to tear the mask off of “choice.” Response from the public was markedly more negative at this site, though many passersby waved and gave thumbs up. The Tour Crew was well satisfied with this smooth start and hoped it would be a sign of more success to come.
Beautiful Skies over Joliet Truth Tour
Majestic clouds bedecked the skies over Joliet during the second day of the Tour. The Tour visited sites in Joliet and Shorewood with over 70 participants between the three stops.
The first site, at Larkin and Jefferson in Joliet, drew a great crowd including many faithful activists that have been coming to Face the Truth Tours for years, as well as some new faces.
The second site at Black Road and Rt. 59 in Shorewood is a site where the Tour has encountered resistance from police and locals in the past. Contrary to those experiences, the site there ran smoothly with no interference. In fact, a passerby who had heard Eric’s interview yesterday on Relevant Radio stopped when she saw the Tour and donated $20 to the cause!
Two Strange Occurrences at Last Site
During the wonderful lunch provided by the pro-life parishioners of St. Mary Immaculate parish in Plainfield, Eric Scheidler called in as a guest on the massive “Ending Abortion” tele-seminar sharing with thousands of listeners how they can save babies outside abortion facilities through sidewalk counseling and prayer. The day finished out at the corner of Caton Farm Road and Rt. 59 in Joliet. At this site in previous years, passersby have thrown eggs, police have tried to shut down protests and counter-protesters have attempted to de-rail the League’s “Face the Truth” efforts.
True to form, the site was visited by two strange occurrences. Early in the stop, a woman stopped at a red light and, screaming and swearing, insisted that the baby Malachi sign a volunteer was holding was inaccurate. As she berated and cursed the volunteer, she said that abortion isn’t even legal past 16 weeks. This is, of course, wildly inaccurate. Abortion is legal in the U.S. through all 9 months of pregnancy for any reason.
Later on, a man stopped and was taking pictures of Tour volunteers holding signs. He told Tour staffer Jim Jansen that he had been offended by the signs before and that, today, his 8 year old son was in tears after seeing the signs. He decided that he had found a way to defeat the League: he would take pictures of our demonstration and sue us for “pornography.”
Eric Scheidler noticed the man when he saw him taking a picture of his 11 year-old daughter Claire and began to videotape him. When the man noticed he was being taped, he came across the street to yell at Eric, which he did for several minutes before stalking off yelling that he was going to list Eric personally in the lawsuit, which Eric encouraged him to do.
The site drew to a close without further incident or interference from police and marked a successful end to the first two days of the Tour.