President Barack Obama and Rep. Nancy Pelosi came to Chicago yesterday for a Democratic Party fundraising event, and the Pro-Life Action League was there to confront the presidential motorcade with pictures of aborted babies—victims of the “choice” that Obama and Pelosi, et al. so stridently support.
When we arrived at the Hilton & Towers shortly before 4:00 to set up for our protest, we found that Chicago Police had set up metal fencing all along Michigan Avenue directly in front of the hotel, effectively eliminating our intended protest area. So instead, we moved our protest across the street from the hotel, which ultimately proved to just as good of a a location.
All told, nearly 60 pro-lifers took part, which allowed us to have a full two blocks covered with large graphic abortion signs as well as handheld signs reading “Stop Abortion Now” and “Obama = Abortion”. We also distributed hundreds of flyers [PDF] with the message: “Obama + Pelosi = Abortion without Limits.”
We weren’t the only ones exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly yesterday. Also across from the Hilton in close proximity to our protest was a coalition of groups urging President Obama to stop deporting undocumented immigrants, as well as another coalition of groups led by the Sierra Club that opposes development of the Keystone XL pipeline.
All of this activity made for a vibrant protest scene—as well as some priceless opportunities for one-on-one conversations.
Around 5:30, Chicago Police closed Michigan Avenue off entirely in both directions, leaving only Balbo Street (the east-west street at the north end of the hotel) open. Once we saw two CPD cruisers speeding eastward, it didn’t take us long to figure out that Balbo was going to be the presidential motorcade route, so we shifted several of our crack pro-life activist team alongside the metal fencing adjacent to the street.
A few minutes later, the president’s motorcade passed by, no more than 20 feet away from our large, graphic abortion signs.