Pro-Life Activism Alive and Well in St. Louis

Pro-Life Action League National Director Joe Scheilder with Camille Daub (left) and Elizabeth Purgahn (right) at Defenders of the Unborn banquet

When Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton came down from the U. S. Supreme Court in January, 1973, many of us realized these abortion rulings were cut from whole cloth, without any legal basis in the Constitution.

These twin decisions were clearly the most dangerous, destructive and outrageous ruling ever handed to the American people. They defied everything our nation stands for: the care and protection of its citizens by the government.

These decisions had to be reversed. But how?

We began looking for leadership in cities where pro-life organizations had already been formed. Chicago had its Illinois Right to Life Committee and Birthright.

Another city where the activist approach was in full swing was St. Louis, Missouri.

St. Louis Pro-Life Activists: Leaders from the Beginning

People like John Ryan, Sam Lee, and Joan Andrews were already out on the sidewalks and in front of the clinics and saving women from aborting their babies.

We got to know these people and began using their tactics. We looked to St. Louis for pro-life leadership.

That’s why I was delighted to address the Defenders of the Unborn at their banquet in St. Louis Saturday night.

More than 200 stalwarts, many of them from the early days of activism, and many new activists listened to my talk on the successes and defeats of the past 39 years fighting abortion.

I made it clear that in the early days of the movement we looked to their city for leadership and inventiveness. Activists will always think of “The Spirit of St. Louis” not as the Charles Lindbergh’s plane but as the local pro-lifers’ determination and zeal to end abortion.

At one time St. Louis had eight abortion mills. The only one now operating is Planned Parenthood of St. Louis.

Following an early Mass, I joined Mary Maschmeier, president of Defenders of the Unborn, along with two of her children and 40 other pro-lifers in front of the mill. Each of the two entrances to the mill was covered by two sidewalk counselors.

I was shocked to see so many teenagers entering the facility on foot, and learned that Planned Parenthood conducts “classes” for teens at the clinic every Saturday. While not going for abortions — yet — their young minds are being corrupted.

The Days of Abortion Are Numbered

In my talk Saturday evening I stressed the fact pro-lifers have kept the abortion issue on the front page for nearly 40 years. A decision that was to have been “the law of the land” is daily losing support, and even the most ardent supporters of abortion know that its days are limited.

I cautioned that there are no silver bullets or easy answers, and that a conversion of the society must take place before abortion becomes as unthinkable as slavery is today. And while at times our efforts may seem fruitless, we know that a victory is in store — someday, because we have truth and goodness, the objects of the intellect and the will, working with us.

Sunday morning after Mass we ordered a table for fifteen at the local I-Hop, and it was like the good old days when we were just getting started, except that most of those breakfasting are the new breed, who promise to be even more determined and better equipped to end this slaughter than we old-timers were.

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