Tags: Abortion | Law Enforcement | Religion | Supreme Court | planned parenthood | rico | scheidler

Activist's Struggles Testament to Preserving Sanctity of Life

Image: Activist's Struggles Testament to Preserving Sanctity of Life
An anti-abortion rally in front of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, in Denver, Colorado, back on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (Brennan Linsley/AP)

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Wednesday, 13 Sep 2017 05:34 PM Current | Bio | Archive

On Jan. 22, 1973, with the bang of a gavel, seven men in Washington, D.C. consigned tens of millions of future Americans to an incredibly premature death. These Americans were condemned to die before they were born by what one dissenting justice, Byron White, called "an act of raw judicial power."

I refer, of course, to the companion abortion decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, and Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179. 

When he first read about the decision, a Christian businessman from Chicago was dumbfounded. Joe Scheidler decided to quit his career in publicity and to work full time on behalf of the unborn babies, eventually founding the Pro-Life Action League.

Jump ahead to more than 40 years later, and Joe Scheidler is still going strong for the anti-abortion cause. He is one of the pioneers of "sidewalk counseling," saving countless thousands of unborn babies who would have been aborted otherwise. Last week, on Sept. 7, 2017, he turned 90. He’s been called the "Father of Pro-Life Activism."

Prior to Roe v. Wade, Joe Scheidler was an activist on behalf of the racially oppressed.

Writer and publicist Tom Ciesielka notes, "In the spring of 1965 he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Montgomery, Alabama. It was a natural jump from speaking out for the civil rights of disenfranchised African-Americans to defending the right to life of unborn children who cannot speak for themselves. King’s organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, stood by Scheidler in his legal battles to protect the lives of children in the womb."

With his son, Peter, Scheidler has written his autobiography, "Racketeer for Life," which was released last year. The title derives its name from some heavy duty lawsuits against him, which he has won — after dealing with them for nearly 30 years. He was charged with being a "racketeer."

In other words, although engaged in peaceful pro-life demonstrations, he was brought up on charges deriving from a law (RICO — Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) normally reserved for prosecuting mobsters.

Approximayely 20 years ago when prosecutors started charging peaceful, anti-abortion demonstrators under the RICO statute, Time Magazine published a memorable line. I never forgot it. "Mother Teresa, Meet Michael Corleone."

Ciesielka writes, "The 'Godfather' of the pro-life movement was victorious in the Supreme Court — twice . . . The RICO . . . laws were originally designed to address organized crime. No   mobster, ‘Godfather’ Joe won lopsided victories at the Supreme Court in both 2003 (8-1) and 2006 (8-0), and was finally vindicated once and for all in 2014 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit."

Recently I interviewed Joe Scheidler on radio about these cases. (I’ve often interviewed his son, Eric, who is a walking encyclopedia on Planned Parenthood.)

Joe told me he was accused of taking business away from somebody (abortion clinics) illegally. He told our listeners, "If we were taking business from anyone — we were converting women who really didn’t want to have an abortion but needed some counsel, and that’s all we were doing. If [the abortionists] lost some money, that was their problem. We weren’t getting any money."

He adds, "The whole thing was mistaken, made up, and very hard to fight — because they could bring in anybody they wanted to tell as many lies as they wanted." It’s also interesting to note that these cases depended upon the assumption that Planned Parenthood is indeed a money-making business.

Scheidler’s attorney in his weary battle in the courts was Tom Brejcha, formerly of a Chicago law firm. But Scheidler couldn’t really afford his services. When Brejcha’s firm gave him an ultimatum, effectively saying, "Either you drop the case and continue working for us, or you go out on your own and represent Scheidler."

Brejcha decided to continue helping Scheidler. At first his office was in an abandoned building without heating in the brutal Chicago winters and without air conditioning in the summers.

But through it all, the Thomas More Society in Chicago was born. Now they do some of the leading work around the country on behalf of anti-abortion activities and religious freedom.

One of the times his case was before the Supreme Court, Scheidler was delighted to hear some of the justices in debate, "Their own arguments were very, very good. They’d say, 'Well, Martin Luther King, was he a racketeer? Because you know, he was marching and leading large groups in protest and against the ill treatment of his race.' We were doing basically the same thing to save the unborn."

Scheidler doesn’t want anyone to send him a birthday card. He says instead, "Send them to Planned Parenthood. Ask them to stop aborting babies, so that these children can live to celebrate their own birthdays."

Jerry Newcombe is co-host/senior TV producer of Kennedy Classics. He has written/co-written 25 books, including "The Book That Made America, Doubting Thomas" (with Mark Beliles), "What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?" (With D. James Kennedy), and "George Washington's Sacred Fire" (with Peter Lillback). For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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JerryNewcombe
More than 40 years later, and Joe Scheidler is still going strong for the anti-abortion cause. He is one of the pioneers of "sidewalk counseling," saving countless thousands of unborn babies who would have been aborted otherwise.
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