Racketeer for Life
Re-posted 4 January, 2017
Fighting the Culture of Death from the Sidewalk to the Supreme Court
By Joseph M. Scheidler with Peter M. Scheidler
Reviewed by Terence J. Hughes, Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences and Climate Change, University of Maine (404 North Sixth Street, Fort Pierre, South Dakota 57532)
1 January 2017
Maybe once in a lifetime people like me, of no particular significance except to God, get to meet and know to some extent someone who is larger than life, and who is also a saintly Christian. Being married to one myself, I also know Joe Scheidler could not have done what he is doing without an even greater wife, Ann Crowley Scheidler. I am referring to raising and educating a large family while your husband is immersed in a titanic struggle, the outcome of which decides the future of a nation, indeed, the very survival of a nation, and still is able to stand by his side in this seemingly endless battle across the width, breadth, and depth of America for four decades and counting with no end in sight.
The first twenty pages start with circumstances that put Joe on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court charged with violating the Racketeer-Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act designed to protect citizens from organized crime. He then reviews his life, born in 1927 in Indiana, raised with six siblings, learned in childhood that murderers could target children with the Lindberg kidnapping, spent time in the Navy at the end of World War II, majored in communications at Notre Dame, visited Dachau while bicycling through Europe and wondered why the eighteen “Scheidlers” in the Munich phone book let that happen, was a reporter and writer for the South Bend Tribune and Our Sunday Visitor, did graduate studies at Marquette, taught at Central Catholic High, Notre Dame, and Mundelein, prepared to become a parish priest, then a Benedictine monk, married Ann Crowley, and began raising seven children while working with inner-city youth for Mayor Richard J. Daley in Chicago to get them out of teenage gangs and into productive lives. During those years Joe became acutely aware that traditional American society was unraveling. Fast.
On the Supreme Court legalizing abortion throughout pregnancy in 1973, Joe writes this: “The slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem was two millennia ago. And the Nazi atrocities were horrifying but that was under a dictatorship. Bu now the United States of America had stripped away its most cherished unalienable right—life—from its most vulnerable population. I felt like a foreigner in my own country. We had embarked on a program of destroying our own posterity. I remembered the eighteen Scheidlers in Munich and my promise to fight.” He saw all that at once. The Catholic bishops issued a strong defense for the sanctity of life but did nothing. He met Father Paul Marx, already a pro-life activist, who told him “You are blessed with a special calling to fight this evil.” Joe quit his job to become a pro-life activist with a wife, four children, and a mortgage. Before long he was elected to head the Illinois Right to Life Committee (IRLC) at under half his previous salary. He used his educational and journalistic skills to engage in pickets, protests, press releases, media interviews, and public speaking. At that time active opposition to abortion rested mostly with lay Catholics, and few of them. Abortion ran rampant across the land.
Many pro-life activists got their start with affiliates of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), such as the IRLC, but it was mainly engaged in legislative activities wooing the Catholic base of the Democratic Party. The IRLC board didn’t like direct action. At Mayor Daley’s annual health fair in City Hall, Joe had a booth featuring a large poster of a garbage bag full of aborted babies. An NRLC board member vandalized it so it wasn’t there when Daley arrived with Chicago media for a photo shoot. Joe was an activist. He knew if he asked permission the answer would always be “no” so he just did it, and was soon fired from the IRLC. That happened to a lot of us. My wife Beverly headed the Bangor chapter of the Maine Right to Life Committee (MRLC). She and I were both booted out by registered letter, Bev for founding and directing two pregnancy crisis centers and me for engaging in peaceful sit-ins at abortion Auschwitzes. In Chicago, Joe founded the Pro-Life Action League in 1981, initially run from his home. On his desk was a plaque: “God so loved the world that He didn’t send a committee.”
Joe devotes a chapter to his 1965 trip from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other marchers, including Viola Liuzzo who was murdered. Of that experience, Joe writes, “The crime wasn’t just the work of a few Klansmen. There was a whole social system in place, a brutal national machine that condoned murder.” He attributed conditions in the Jim Crow South to fear of the large Black population and adds, “Years later this same attitude surfaced in the abortion debate. If the unborn have any rights at all, pregnant women—all women—would be relegated to second-class status.” In the wake of legalizing killing the unborn throughout pregnancy in the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton rulings, “The nation was deciding to limit its definition of who counted as a person and was entitled to equal protection under the law.” Now, 43 years later, those rulings have pitted the Democratic Party against the Republican Party in the 2016 election, just as Dred Scott v. Sandford in 1857 defined the same two parties on the same issue and paved the way to Civil War after the 1860 election. Today the issue is even more stark. Is killing the entire next generation of Americans—every one–enshrined in Constitutional Law, with Black America being targeted the most? Today that is the law.
The counterpart to the Ku Klux Klan in peddling fear to advance a racist agenda, and also to profit obscenely from abortion, is Planned Parenthood, founded by an overt racist, Margaret Sanger/Sangre. Advertising “comprehensive health care” to draw in women, it arranges for an adoption once for every 150 babies it kills. Inside its “clinics” counselors promote abortion as the “best” solution for pregnant women entering its doors. Joe notes the high suicide rate among aborting women. Planned Parenthood has no program to help them. Real counseling addressing both their spiritual and physical distress are organizations such as Women Exploited by Abortion, Victims of Choice, Rachel’s Vineyard, Project Rachel, and Silent No More noted by Joe, all cost free and run by Christian women, many of whom had aborted their babies and are themselves in the healing process. Part of that ministry is being outside the abortion slaughterhouses to meet women going inside. Sometimes just a hug changes a mind. Observing and engaging in all these activities, Joe developed his Chicago Method. “The key is to get her to pause and decide not to walk into the clinic. After that, we can also try to protect the child.”
In his chapter on abortionists, Joe calls their slaughterhouses “clinics” so I will too, but I prefer Abortion Auschwitzes. That’s what they are. Many operated without licenses. One was run by Suzanne, a Catholic, and Joe tried to get her to quit. She liked her job, liked the money. Then she took up skydiving and neither parachute opened. Joe convinced Pam Zekman of the Chicago Sun Times to do a series, “Meet the Abortion Profiteers,” that ran daily for three weeks. Filth and fraud was the dominant discovery. Fraud included double-dipping, making poor women pay cash and then billing Medicaid as well. Arnold Bickham, making $750,000 annually, was an usher at the Moody Bible Institute. Like “Planned Parenthood”, clinic names concealed their murderous activities. Women themselves got killed by a butcher abortionist at Friendship Medical Center. Midwest Population Center engaged in depopulation. “Work makes you free” was the sign above the gate to Auschwitz.
Joe describes attending the 1983 annual meeting of the National Abortion Federation in New Orleans, posing as an abortionist. There he met the most notorious entrepreneurs of Big Abortion, names familiar to every dedicated pro-lifer: Henry Morganthaler from Canada, Bill Baird from New York, Tiller the Killer from Kansas, Warren Hern from Colorado. Tools of the trade were on display everywhere, with pricetags. Seminars included recommending doing at least a thousand early abortions to steel themselves for late abortions when the babies are fully formed and must be ripped to pieces while they struggle to escape the knives and tongs.
In the early years after Roe both sides in the abortion struggle aimed at controlling both political parties. The Democratic Party seemed the natural pro-life party with Catholics holding key positions in Congress, in state legislatures, and among governors. By 1976 that hope was fading. Gerald Ford had replaced Richard Nixon as President. Ford had strong ties to the pro-abortion Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party. Betty Ford was a pro-abortion zealot. Joe worked closely with Republicans Henry Hyde, a Catholic in the House of Representatives, and Jesse Helms, a Freemason in the Senate. With strong support from Ronald Reagan, who was running against Ford, they succeeded in getting a pro-life plank in the Republican Party Platform, approved resoundingly by convention delegates.
Under Mayor Richard J. Daley, the Democrat machine in Cook County (Chicago) had been pro-life. That began to slide when his son, Richard M. Daley, became mayor and when Cardinal Bernardin replaced Cardinal Cody as Archbishop of Chicago. The machine was taken over by pro-abortion Irish Catholics. To appease them Bernardin introduced his “seamless garment” crazy quilt that put murdering children in the womb in a grab-bag of other non-lethal politicized moral issues. The first domino fell with Cook County Hospital becoming a taxpayer-funded abortion center, then giving Holy Communion to militantly pro-abortion Catholic Democrat politicians, then imposing a “bubble zone” in front of abortion clinics so sidewalk counselors using the Chicago Method had to be “invited” to talk to women seeking abortions, then blocking enforcement of the Illinois parental notification law protecting underage girls from abortion profiteers. Open collusion between “good” Catholics and abortionists had begun.
Joe published his book, CLOSED: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion, in 1985. He and his PLAL volunteers confronted pro-abortion Geraldine Ferraro, Walter Mondale’s 1984 Catholic running mate, at every campaign stop. After Reagan won a 49-state landslide reelection, Joe met with him in the Oval Office. Joe confronted Justice Harry Blackmun of Roe and Doe infamy face-to-face at a cocktail party in Blackmun’s honor. On the 40th anniversary of the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals in 1945, Joe and PLAL conducted in Nuremberg, Pennsylvania a mock trial of those waging war against the unborn. Large photos of all the Death Dealers were mounted on cardboard and put in the dock, Supreme Court justices, abortion profiteers, politicians, media promoters, prominent church leaders, and celebrities. Victims and survivors of every kind testified against them. It got worldwide coverage. The National Organization for Women (NOW) concocted a “documentary” in 1986 called Holy Terror that tried to link Joe and PLAL with clinic arsons and bombings.
After a dreary chapter on how Justices O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter, all nominated by pro-life Republican presidents, became pro-abortion when they could easily have overturned Roe and Doe, Joe describes how escalating arsons and bombings at abortion clinics were used to brand Joe a racketeer in the NOW v. Scheidler lawsuit in 1986 that took him and PLAL to the pro-abortion U.S. Supreme Court three times and inspired his book title, Racketeer for Life. One convicted of multiple arsons in 1985 was Reverend Michael Bray, a Lutheran minister and pastor at Reformation Lutheran Church in Maryland. My wife Bev and I met his wife Jayne and children when he was serving 46 months in a Federal prison in upstate New York. I began corresponding with him, which continues to this very day. In 1994 Mike wrote a book, A Time to Kill, citing Ecclesiastes 3:3, which I have. He has put several of my writings on his website. He and Jayne have eleven children. The Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights of the U.S. House of Representatives conducted hearings on arsons and bombings in 1985. Joe testified and his book includes exchanges with pro-abortion Patricia Schroeder and Charles Schumer. I was reminded of Plato’s account of the trial of Socrates.
I first met Joe at the 1985 National Right to Life Convention in Washington, D.C. Featured speakers were Mother Teresa, Cardinal O’Connor, and Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL (originally the National Association for Repeal of Abortion Laws), who had quit doing abortions and published a book, Aborting America, in 1979. Joe and Bill Baird got on an elevator with Bev, me, and our young son Shane. Baird tousled Shane’s curly golden locks and said, “What a nice little boy.”
John Cavanaugh O’Keefe began organizing peaceful sit-ins at abortion clinics in 1977, inspired by sit-ins in the 1960s protesting racial segregation and in the 1970s protesting the Vietnam War. Others soon followed, Sam Lee in St. Louis, Monica Migliorino in Milwaukee, John Ryan, arrested over 400 times for sit-ins in Virginia and Maryland, to name three of many. At the 1986 Pro-Life Action Network (PLAN) convention in St. Louis, “rescues” replaced “sit-ins” citing Proverbs 24: “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.” Those taken to death were the babies. Those stumbling were their mothers. Randall Terry was there. With Joe Foreman, a Lutheran minister, he had formed Operation Rescue that would go nationwide after the convention. Joe knew them all and had shared most of their experiences.
I first met Randall Terry at the 1988 PLAN convention organized by Joe in Chicago. Dean Lindstrom, my M.S. student at the University of Maine, had gotten his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago under Douglas MacAyeal, another former student of mine. Doug invited me to be the outside member of Dean’s dissertation defense committee on a Friday. I scheduled my return to Maine on Sunday so I could attend the PLAN convention on Saturday. Randall was to be the keynote speaker. He arrived in street clothes, just released from jail for a rescue in Atlanta during the Democratic National Convention that nominated pro-abortion Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. Randall began his address with his eyes and arms raised Heavenward in supplication to the Lord of Life. As he spoke he slowly lowered his gaze and arms until they were directed at us, and his prayer changed into a challenge to “rescue those being taken away to death…” Randall looked right into my soul. Joe had God-fathered Randall into direct action in 1985 and now Randall God-fathered me.
I signed up for two rescues on Sunday. The first was in South Chicago. Cops were already there and had lined up on both sides of the “killing lane” into the clinic. Their Irish, African, and Polish faces staring at each other. A black limousine pulled up and an obese Black man got out, rounded the car, and pulled out a tiny sobbing Black woman. With his beefy hands enclosing her arms he marched her into the clinic. The cops did nothing, even though it was obvious she was being forced to kill her baby. Confronted for the first time with utter evil, I was paralyzed, said and did nothing. All we could do was picket with our signs. Then we went to the second clinic, north of the Chicago Loop. There we were able to do a sit-in rescue and spent the rest of Sunday behind bars. That experience changed my life forever. Never again would I do nothing when confronted with the stark evil of Child Sacrifice to Satan, to Moloch. All of us engaged in subsequent sit-in rescues were given a prison name when we were arrested to protect our identity. We discussed what name best fit each of us. They called me Ice Man.
Joe and I have a connection to Joan Andrews. Joe was with Joan Andrews during a rescue at an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida in 1986. He stayed outside while Joan went in and pulled the plug on the suction machine. She was sentenced to five years in prison and spent three in solitary confinement, where she became known as Saint Joan by pro-lifers for her total non-compliance. Later, when Joe was in Denver for the NRLC convention, he was arrested and extradited to Florida to face a charge of “burglary during a break-in” in Pensacola. There was no burglary and no break-in. It was all police harassment. Some years later about 30 Lambs of Christ, a rescue group founded by Father Norman Weslin, were arrested in Dobbs Ferry north of New York City where a Hungarian abortionist named Kali (Kali is the Hindu goddess of death) killed babies. We spent a month in Valhalla prison. We were released at night. I was the first one to walk out and there was Joan Andrews with a group of well-wishers. She gave me kiss.
Joe’s activities included lectures on college campi all over the country. Students were usually hostile, egged on by pro-abortion faculty. Hitler salutes were common. At Indiana University students surrounded him screaming “Heil Hitler!” while they spat at him and one vomited on him. Students at Bishop McNamara High School screamed and booed so loudly he couldn’t even speak and walked off the stage. A teacher took the mike and congratulated the students. Their boos changed to cheers.
Joe’s ingenuity knows no bounds. PLAL did annual marches past abortion clinics on Michigan Avenue to commemorate Mothers’ Day in Chicago. A CBS reporter and cameraman accompanied them on one drizzly march. She complained there was no “action” to report. Joe ran ahead to a nearby playground, got the merry-go-round spinning, swings moving, rocking horses on springs in motion, ran back to his marchers and directed them to the park with the reporter and cameraman following. Upon their arrival she said to the cameraman, “Get that!” Joe asked her, “Where are our children? They’ve been killed by abortion. They should be playing here. There should be noise and laughter, but there is silence, and we only have their ghosts.” It was the lead story on the CBS evening news.
In 1944 Oscar Schindler saved 1200 Jews from being gassed at Auschwitz. A 1993 award-winning movie, Schindler’s List, captured that drama. A monthly magazine, Life Advocate, by Andrew Burnett (publisher), Paul DeParrie (editor in chief), and Catherine Ramey (associate editor) in Portland, Oregon, reported on rescues in America. One editorial, titled Scheidler’s List, honored Joe. His list must name tens of thousands in America alone. Joe writes, “Pro-life work has taken me all over the world. In 1985, one of my busier years, I logged enough miles to circle the globe ten times by plane and twice by car.” If you include that, Scheidler’s list is multiplied by numbers known only to God.
In a chapter titled Sacrilege Joe examines why those who should be the greatest defenders of unborn human life are actually deeply divided. He illustrates this by showing the logo of the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights (RCAR). It combines the Jewish menorah and the Christian cross with the Nazi swastika, all in black. Joe put the swastika in red and displayed the RCAR logo prominently at his 1985 Nuremburg Tribunal. RCAR quickly changed its logo. The split within Christian denominations over abortion centered on the Bible. Bible Churches, the Roman Catholic Church and Evangelical Christians, opposed abortion. Mainline Protestant denominations largely abandoned Biblical authority and had become pro-abortion: Lutherans, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Episcopalians. The large Southern Baptist Convention flirted with abortion and then became strongly pro-life, largely due to national televangelists Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Dr. D. James Kennedy. But even within his own Catholic Church, Joe had to deal with clerics who were squishy soft on abortion. In 1978 the Chicago Association of Catholic Priests gave its Humanitarian Award to physician Quentin Young after he included tax-funded abortions among “services” at Cook County Hospital.
Joe devotes one of his best chapters, The Pro-Life Mafia, to Operation Rescue. From 1987 to 1994, over 70,000 pro-lifers were arrested all over the country, the largest civil rights uprising in American history. It is the most personal chapter for me because I spent time behind prison bars in six states and I met nearly all the heavy lifters jailed for life, Don Treshman of Rescue America, Father Norman Weslin of the Lambs of Christ, the legendary Dr. Joe Stanton crippled from childhood with polio, to name three. At one pre-rescue meeting in a Boston church, Randall asked those willing to be arrested to stand. Nobody moved. Then those in front heard behind them the clashing of metal and, looking around, they saw septuagenarian Joseph Stanton using his two metal canes to force his atrophied metal-braced legs to his feet. And everyone else stood with him. That’s not in Joe’s book.
I shall mention one more thing. Operation Rescue and other rescuers used the peaceful activities Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. introduced to end racial segregation, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and honored with a national holiday. Nobody was harmed and no damage was done by rescuers. Not so with police. They used pain compliance and broke bones. I saw them throw Dr. Stanton down concrete stairs after confiscating his two canes. Six of them tore out my right biceps because I wouldn’t move my 270 pounds. Those who took an oath to protect innocent human lives were protecting the murderers. Somewhere I read that when Hitler decided Nazi propaganda had sufficiently dehumanized Jews, he ordered his goons to begin The Final Solution. One objected. “To do that we’ll need the cooperation of every burgermeister and constable in Germany. They won’t do it.” Spitting saliva, Hitler screamed, “They’ll do it! They’ll do it just to keep their miserable little jobs!” And they did it. They did it just to keep their miserable little jobs. The U.S. Supreme Court dehumanized Americans in the womb so they could be “legally” murdered, and American cops want to keep their miserable little jobs.
The Culture of Death, State and Federal, was determined to crush rescuers. To that end, Congress enacted the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act in 1994. It imposed draconian sentences in Federal prisons and fines designed to leave the families of rescuers destitute. FACE was rammed through Congress by Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell from Maine and House Speaker Tom Foley from Washington, both Roman Catholics, and signed into law by Bill Clinton, a Southern Baptist, all Democrats. The U.S. Supreme Court, which initiated America’s Slaughter of the Innocents, now over 60 million and counting, ruled FACE was “constitutional” so the killing could continue. Peaceful efforts to save lives became organized crime—the Mafia, subject to prosecution under RICO.
At the end of the rescue chapter, Joe quoted from the keynote address in 1981 by Congressman Henry Hyde to Illinois Citizens For Life. Hyde reminded them of the “terrible loneliness” each of us will face at the Final Judgment. But for each pro-life activist there will be a “chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world” and they will say to God, “Spare him, because he loved us!”
In the next chapter, Joe deals with Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment” of social justice. John Cardinal Cody, Bernardin’s predecessor as Archbishop of Chicago, urged Catholics to allow deductions from their paychecks to support United Way’s “Crusade of Mercy” which funded Planned Parenthood and Catholic Charities. “A painless way of giving” was the pitch. Joe got “more than two hundred theologians, priests, bishops, doctors, and other experts in moral law and ethics” to urge Cody to make Catholic Charities independent of United Way. That meant financial “pain” so Cody refused. So did Bernardin, citing the Principle of Double Effect: If funding Planned Parenthood wasn’t intended, funding United Way was moral. This was the “seamless garment” which made Henry Hyde “30% pro-life” and Teddy Kennedy, sponsor of FACE and every pro-abortion Senate bill, “67% pro life”.
The most depressing chapter is To Bury the Dead, a corporal work of mercy in the Catholic Church. In 1987 Joe was contacted by “John Smith” who had a lucrative garbage disposal contract with abortion clinics on Michigan Avenue. He took Joe to garbage dumpsters where Joe found some 600 shredded babies in large cardboard boxes, many of them late-term abortions, over a two-month period. Joe displayed them in trays on a long table outside one clinic and invited the press. Among those who helped Joe were Monica Migliorino and Edmund Miller, who married and made exposing this horror their pro-life mission in Milwaukee. Joe asked the Chicago Archdiocese to give the aborted babies a Christian burial, and was refused. Cardinal Bernardin later relented, but only for a burial with no publicity. My spiritual director, Father Tom Carleton, spent a year in prison for praying his rosary outside an abortion clinic in Boston. His archbishop, Bernard Cardinal Law, visited him only once and then under cover of darkness. The Psalmist says “Put not your trust in princes.” Cardinal Archbishops are Princes in the Roman Catholic Church.
Cardinal Bernardin became more sympathetic when Stephen Cook, dying of AIDS, reported Bernardin and others had sodomized him when Bernardin ran the Cincinnati seminary Cook attended. By then the dumpster babies recovered were approaching 3000. Bernardin not only allowed a public burial, he personally celebrated the memorial Mass with 1000 mourners present. Joe doesn’t mention this, but Cook was penniless. When he died his estate was worth $1,000,000 after he recanted his charge against Bernardin. The benefactor was never disclosed.
When 60 million of the next generation of Americans have been legally murdered for merely existing, some people will conclude the murderers should be executed even if the State protects them. Joe knew them all, Michael Griffin, Paul Hill, John Salvi, James Kopp, and tried to dissuade them from that action. They were all lone assassins. He knew Shelly Shannon who shot “Tiller the Killer” in the arms, hoping to disable him so he couldn’t kill more babies. It didn’t work. Scott Roeder shot and killed Tiller when he was entering his Lutheran church where he was a Sunday usher. Salvi shot to death Planned Parenthood receptionists in Boston and its Brookline suburb where pro-abortion governor Michael Dukakis lived. I drove from Maine to participate in peaceful rescues many times at those places. Cardinal Law used the Salvi shootings to urge suspending all such peaceful activity, and succeeded except for Joe’s niece, Elsa Scheidler, who was attending Boston College. Law lost all moral authority in 2002 when the anti-Catholic Boston Globe exposed him as shuttling homosexual predatory priests from parish to parish so they always had fresh altar boys to sodomize. Catholic pro-life activist Alan Keyes branded him “Cardinal Outlaw”.
Michael Bray, in his book A Time To Kill, made the theological case for executing abortionists. He also cited Biblical precedents. What makes executing abortionists different is they are State-sanctioned killers, like executioners in State and Federal prisons, and were legally hired to kill by mothers who didn’t want their babies. That made at least 60 million Americans murderers, many of whom had believed Planned Parenthood propaganda claiming these human beings were “like cancerous tumors” that threatened women’s lives. The shooters were used to brand Joe an “accessory to murder” in NOW v. Scheidler merely because he knew them. Joe’s reply: “We don’t need violence. We have the truth.”
In 1969 Bernard Nathanson and Larry Lader founded NARAL, claiming falsely over a million illegal abortions every year killed 10,000 women, lies cited as “facts” in Roe v. Wade. By 1974 Nathanson had killed 60,000 babies, including his only child, and he quit. Joe told him, “You wiped out a whole city!” In 1996 Bernard was baptized a Catholic with Joan Andrews as his Godmother. He wrote three books describing his “Road to Damascus” and narrated an ultrasound video, The Silent Scream, of a rip-apart abortion at 12 weeks. He inspired Joe and PLAL to host a series of conferences featuring abortionists and their staffs who had stopped and become actively pro-life. Also included were Norma McCorvey, “Roe” in Roe v. Wade, and Sandra Cano, “Doe” in Doe v. Bolton. Testimony was videotaped by Roger McZura from Hell, Michigan. Abortionist MacArthur Hill recounted a recurring dream in which he delivered a healthy baby, presented it to a faceless jury that turned thumb’s down, so he killed the baby. Then he awoke in a panic. They had faces: Supreme Court “Justices” Harry Blackmun, William Brennan, William Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Potter Stewart, and Lewis Powell.
Joe adopted the Benedictine motto, Ora et Labora—pray and work, for his PLAL. It contrasts with Arbeit Macht Frei—work makes you free, above the entrance to Auschwitz, the truth and the lie. From people who had quit the abortion business, Joe learned some were Satanists, with each dead baby their “offering” to Satan. They commonly showed up when rescuers were outside the abortion clinics, screaming curses and blasphemies, spitting and throwing things while cops just watched. A solitary pro-life sidewalk counselor was often outnumbered by their “deathscorts” to hustle women inside for the killings. Joe routinely attended the annual March For Life in Washington, D.C. and tried to recruit more among the half-million marchers from all over America. For Catholics, a Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception shrine precedes the march. Joe, Ann, and the PLAL staff attend daily Mass, and he got a chapel with tabernacle installed in the new PLAL office after the old storefront office was under continuous assault. PLAL had a small staff and budget, but bills always got paid, sometimes very big bills, and often at the last moment.
The Scheidler family watches A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Carol, and It’s a Wonderful Life during Christmas. In the Frank Capra movie, George Bailey is visited by his guardian angel Clarence when George in despair is contemplating suicide. Clarence shows George what life would be in his hometown if he hadn’t lived. It’s a cesspool of vice, crime, and corruption. Clarence says, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” Joe adds, “Multiply that hole by sixty million.” Chicago was becoming George’s hometown. “Chicago used to be full of nativity sets,” Joe writes. Then the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NOW, and the American Jewish Congress began to object and one-by-one the crèches on City property began to disappear. When the crèche in Daley Plaza was being dismantled Joe and others arrived and wrestled with city workers over statues going to the dumpster, in front of television crews, so all America saw the struggle. Jennifer Neubauer, a pro-life attorney, got a federal injunction against this vandalism and discrimination. Joe and PLAL stalwarts began singing Christmas Carols in front of Chicago’s abortion clinics. After the Berlin Wall came down, Bill Grutzmacher and Joe went to Moscow and erected a Christmas creche in Red Square. What Moscow now allowed, Chicago wanted banned. Chicago has become a shooting gallery, with 4331 shootings resulting in 762 murders in 2016 alone, 80 percent of them African Americans—not counting abortions. What would Chicago be without Joe Scheidler?
At the start I stated nobody could do Joe’s kind of pro-life work without his wife at his side. Usually support from family members is passive. Joe’s family gave active support. He reports inspiring activities of Ann and all but the youngest of seven children. Their whole neighborhood gave support with yard sales and vigilance. Pro-abortion picketers routinely screamed their mantras while holding their “Scheidlers hate womyn” signs. The Scheidler house was repeatedly vandalized, usually with spray paint but also heaving bricks through windows. Cops were indifferent. Family members were with Joe in the annual March for Life when he met with President George W. Bush prior to the March, with PLAL protesters in Springfield where Barack Obama began his pro-abortion presidential campaign, and in organizing resistance to Obama’s pro-abortion, anti-Catholic Affordable Care Act that targeted the Little Sisters of the Poor. After the Supreme Court unanimously ruled bubble zones that kept sidewalk counselors from speaking to women seeking abortions were constitutional, Joe and Ann confronted Scalia at a 1997 banquet in Illinois where Scalia was the keynote speaker. They convinced Scalia bubble zones violated free speech in the First Amendment. Those rulings were overturned unanimously by McMullen v. Coakley in 2014. Justice Samuel Alito used the same argument Joe and Ann had made to Scalia. It vindicated the Chicago Method employed by Joe, Ann, and several of their children.
Joe concludes with the NOW v. Scheidler trial. Randall Terry settled out of court, leaving only Joe, Tim Murphy, and Andy Scholberg as PLAL defendants, all represented by Tom Brejcha. Fay Clayton represented plaintiffs. The trial judge was David Coar. I had followed the trial and concluded he was in the pocket of Big Abortion. I called him “Coar the Whore” to my pro-life friends. Catholics were kept off the jury. Coar allowed anonymous witnesses who, prompted by Clayton, told lie after lie. Brejcha was given no opportunity to interview these “surprise” witnesses to prepare a defense. Joe was under an injunction not to attend the rescue at Tiller the Killer’s late-term abortion clinic, yet one “witness” swore he was towering over her screaming while a bomb squad that didn’t exist was inside. That’s all the “No Catholics Need Apply” and “No Irish Need Apply” jury heard. Joe wasn’t even there. When NOW employee Maureen Burke, an obvious Irish Catholic name, took the stand to read “notes” she swore she took as a NOW spy at a PLAN convention, Coar allowed her testimony. I could go on—and on—and on, all unsubstantiated hearsay allowed by Coar. One of the few “witnesses” with a name was Dildo Hasper. Clayton used these “witnesses” to establish Guilt by Association as a novel legal “principle” to convict Joe and the others for being no different from Al Capone and his Chicago mobsters, racketeers, and extortionists, using the Racketeer-Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Similar “trials” were routine in Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia, but this is the United States of America.
The most entertaining part of the Now v. Scheidler chapters was the defense by Tom Brejcha and his team. With some humor, their witnesses exposed the whole trial as a sham. Yet it all boiled down to “she said, he said” testimony with the “shes” being anonymous, and the “hes” being “so much fluff” when Coar the Whore instructed the jury. Yeah, I know, that’s “unacceptable” like calling George Tiller “Tiller the Killer” but it is what it is. The way Coar defined “enterprise” to the jury, an annual Boy Scout Jamboree would be a violation of RICO. Coar fined Joe and the other defendants over a quarter million dollars in “damages” and demanded $75,000 in cash before he allowed Joe’s home as collateral in an appeal bond. Coar meant to make pro-life activists destitute under RICO, as did Congress and Clinton by enacting FACE in 1994.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals twice refused to grant even a hearing so the pro-abortion U.S. Supreme Court was the court of last resort. Joe won on an 8 to 1 vote. NOW refused to accept the verdict and lost again, this time 9 to 0. In 2014 NOW lost its appeal to avoid paying court costs. Joe writes, “My youngest son, Matthias, was four years old when I was sued by NOW and the abortion clinics. He was thirty-two when the case was finally over.” Joe had to go the U.S. Supreme Court three times to get justice, the only one in Court history, but tenacity paid off in the end. God rewards His faithful servants.
Joe’s last chapter, Passing the Torch, is devoted to everything Ann and their children have done to defend human life, within PLAL and on their own. Their oldest son, Eric, is in the process of leading PLAL into his generation. Planned Parenthood is now building huge “abortion fortresses” at locations where it can continue to target America’s Black citizens, where 79 percent of its Abortion Auschwitzes (let’s call them what they are) are already located, all to carry out PP Foundress Margaret Sanger’s Negro Project “to exterminate the Negro population”(her words) in America. The racist dimension is the only thing missing from Joe’s book, though he knows it well. Eric’s first project for PLAL has been to stop construction of an abortion fortress on the outskirts of Chicago, beginning with exposing its building permit was obtained by fraud. The battle continues and tenacity will win. Again.
Bangor is the abortion Mecca in central Maine. Nearly every OB/GYN is an abortionist. With the worst of them, a small group of us regularly displayed large posters of aborted babies outside their Auschwitzes, at churches they attended, and in neighborhoods where they lived. Joe Scheidler flew in to witness with us. He stayed at our house in Orono, a Bangor suburb where the University of Maine is located. In 2006, my wife Bev invited Joe to address the South Dakota Right to Life Convention when a pro-life referendum was on the ballot. On these occasions Joe only asked for airfare.
Pro-lifers have always believed abortion in America will stop when Black churches turn against it, just as Black churches ended Jim Crow in America. Abortion will also end if the Catholic Church becomes united and militantly determined to stop it. It will end when mainline Protestant denominations return to the Bible and unite against murdering the next generation of Americans, determined to restore the America their ancestors founded. Chapters in Joe’s book dealing with this imperative would have been most welcome.
This year, 2017, Joe Scheidler turns 90. He spent the last half of his life in full-time direct action to rescue babies, their mothers, and our country from a great evil, and he’s still at it, his whole family with him. From the day abortion was legalized in 1973, Joe was active. Everything that could be done, he did, except to engage in violence against the people and vandalism of the property engaged in this horror. But he sympathized with those who did both, and were willing to pay the price. Paul Hill, a Presbyterian pastor, husband, and father, went calmly to his execution. A lot of them are behind prison bars, virtually for life, Don Anderson, Shelly Shannon, John Salvi (he died in prison), Clay Waggoner, to name four. Joe wouldn’t say it, but he also paid a price for their “crimes” that weren’t really crimes. He got tarred with that brush too. If anyone asked Joe “Why? Why the dedication?” he would say, “When there is a great wrong you’ve got to make it right, to do whatever it takes no matter how long it takes. You don’t count the cost.” Then Joe would say one more thing. “You do it out of love.” And he would make the Sign of the Cross.
Ice Man, New Year’s Day, 2017