March 6, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Joe Scheidler is considered by many to be “The Godfather” of the pro-life movement in the United States. Now 91, Scheidler has been at the forefront of the fight to end abortion since the early 1970s.
Scheidler is perhaps best known for founding the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League with his wife Ann in 1980. Before that, he marched for civil rights with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s and worked for the Illinois Right to Life Committee in the 70s. He also served in the Navy during World War II.
In this episode of The Van Maren Show, Scheidler says that it was during a speech by Senator Henry Hyde in Chicago that he became interested in the pro-life fight. At the speech, he was handed a pamphlet on abortion. “I listened very carefully to Henry's talk and then I started studying the whole pro-life issue of fetal development,” he says. “I thought this was going to destroy our country because we are taking protection away from the most helpless — the unborn.”
Scheidler essentially laid the ground-rules for the pro-life movement during his first years as an activist. He would retrieve aborted babies from dumpsters, take photos of them, and blow them up on posters to hold outside abortion clinics. He also put images on Chicago’s subway stations. “I always used the picture because I thought it was absolutely critical that people see abortion.”
He and others like Dr. Monica Miller pioneered new tactics as well. “We went to the clinics. We went right where the abortions take place and we talked to the women going in and tried very hard to persuade them not to have the abortion and we would maybe go to a restaurant and talk about it.”
In his landmark 1985 book, CLOSED: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion, Scheidler details the many other strategies he and the pro-life coalitions he was working with relied on to fight abortion.
Van Maren and Scheidler also reflect on his work with politicians and religious leaders and discusses where the pro-life movement is headed in the years to come.
To read more about Joe Scheidler’s inspiring life, purchase his memoir, Racketeer for Life: Fighting the Culture of Death from the Sidewalk to the Supreme Court.
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