Eric Scheidler addresses pro-lifers at the picket of Albany abortion facility in Chicago [Photo by John Jansen]
It’s been said that “All politics is local.” The same is true of pro-life activism. If we want abortion to end, we have to fight it where it happens: in our own local communities, in season and out of season. On Saturday, November 17, the Pro-Life Action League sponsored two concurrent protests: one outside of Albany Medical-Surgical Center, a late-term abortion facility on Chicago’s Northwest Side, and one outside of Planned Parenthood’s “Abortion Fortress” in Aurora, Illinois.
Huge Crowd Packs Sidewalks around Late Term Abortion Mill
November 17 was a fitting day to protest abortion in Chicago, as it was the third anniversary of the enactment of a “Bubble Zone” outside Chicago abortion clinics–an unjust law that has been used to harass pro-life activists since Day One. Both police and abortion clinic staff have twisted and abused the Bubble Zone ordinance, especially outside Albany Medical-Surgical Center, where a woman was recently taken away by ambulance. Albany is also the abortion clinic outside of which 65-year old sidewalk counselor Anna Marie Mesia has been arrested on bogus charges twice in the past four months, and where police officers recently told us to remove our “Pray to End Abortion” signs from the public way or face a fine of up to $1,000. Chanting “Life yes, abortion no, Albany has go to go,” a crowd of over 80 pro-lifers–including the indomitable Brian Clowes of Human Life International, who was visiting Chicago with his family–took part in the picket, packing the sidewalks that run adjacent to the facility’s parking lot. Visible at the picket were numerous graphic abortion signs, along with dozens of handheld signs that read, “Stop Abortion Now,” “Moms for Life,” “Dads for Life,” as well as some brand new signs designed specifically for this picket that read, “Albany: Unsafe for Women.” About midway through the picket, an irate motorist abruptly stopped his car just a few feet away from the picketers gathered at the corner of Elston and Carmen Avenues and began loudly yelling, “You hate life! You people are the devil!” This potentially volatile situation was quickly diffused when League staffers Eric Scheidler and John Jansen immediately began filming the accoster. After continuing his rant for nearly two minutes, he drove off. Clearly, the Albany picket had an effect. Saturdays are usually their busiest day, but on this Saturday, the parking lot was much more empty than usual.
Aurora Protest Sees Fresh Faces
The monthly third Saturday protest at Planned Parenthood in Aurora officially entered its sixth year with this protest. Every month since they opened their doors in 2007, pro-lifers have been reminding the community that what goes on at Planned Parenthood’s mega-center is not OK. Crowds for the monthly protest usually number around 50 people, which is a great turnout for a pro-life protest, but this month over 80 came out! Protesters formed a picket line along New York Street, across a vacant lot from Planned Parenthood and in view of passing traffic. On the opposite side of the road, a “Face the Truth” display was set up showing life in the womb at 8 weeks, first trimester abortion and second trimester abortion. Closer to the clinic, a large group prayed a pro-life Rosary and several sidewalk counselors took turns engaging Planned Parenthood’s clients in the crucial, final moments before they make their deadly choice. As the event drew to a close, League Communications Director Matt Yonke told the faithful to take heart in the wake of the recent elections. The battle has not been lost, rather, defeat in politics reminds us that the real battle is fought on the streets with grassroots activism. After a year of much needed protests on the religious freedom issue, I think our whole staff felt refreshed to be returning to the Pro-Life Action League’s primary mission: saving babies and their mothers from the pain of abortion on the front lines.