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On Saturday, my husband Joe and I attended the Northwest Families March for Life in Palatine, Illinois, along with over a thousand other pro-lifers. Joe and I were scheduled to speak at the outdoor portion of the program.

But first there were testimonies delivered inside St. Theresa Church. One of those testimonies was from a man named Paul who told his story for the first time. He and the woman he would eventually marry had a personal abortion story, and they had a personal life story as well.

It was 1976, and Paul was a senior in high school. His freshman girlfriend, Maureen, got pregnant. Afraid to tell her parents, she went to an abortion clinic for a pregnancy test. The test was positive and they left, planning to talk about what to do. But a clinic worker followed them to the elevator. She saw Paul’s girlfriend crying, and—as clinic workers are trained to do—she talked them into coming back into the clinic and taking care of the problem so her parents would never need to know.

A year later, Maureen was pregnant again. But her abortion had haunted her. This time she looked at the ads in the Chicago Sun-Times. In the midst of the classified ads for abortion clinics, she spotted an ad placed by Illinois Right to Life. She decided to call them for help. And her baby was saved! 

This pro-life ad appeared in the midst of several ads for abortion clinics in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1976.

I looked at Joe. I had chills. Those ads were part of a deal he had made with the newspaper.

Joe, who at that time was the executive director of Illinois Right to Life, tried to convince the Sun-Times to stop taking those ads.  But the ads were revenue for the paper, so they refused. However, they offered to give Illinois Right to Life free ads in reparation for the damage their paid abortion ads were doing.

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Paul and Maureen made that choice for life in 1976 because they found a pro-life ad that Joe Scheidler had written. It’s a good bet that his assistant Laura Canning was the person at Illinois Right to Life who answered their call and helped her tell her parents about the pregnancy. Saturday was the first time we had ever heard testimony that those ads had actually saved a life. This was a truly unexpected blessing, as blessings often are.

Paul and Maureen married and went on to have more children. We are extraordinarily grateful to have heard Paul’s testimony, and expect that other babies will be saved the more their story is told.

Reprinted with permission from Pro-Life Action League.