We rejoice today with Joe Scheidler and the Pro-life Action League, who were again victorious at the Supreme Court in the Scheilder vs. NOW case. What this means is that the Supreme Court has again reaffirmed our First Amendment rights to protest at abortion mills, and that we can do this without being afraid that laws originally designed to stop organized crime will be falsely applied to us.
This was the third time that this case went before the Supreme Court – an historical record in itself – and the second time in a row that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the pro-life activists. Our press release from Priests for Life can be viewed here.
Now it is up to us to make sure this is not a hollow victory. If pro-life people just want to fight this battle from the sidelines, staying within the security of their homes, schools, and Churches, and not venturing out to be at the killing centers in solidarity with the children and their families, then this victory does not have the full strength that it should. The Supreme Court respects our First Amendment rights. So should we. The victory given to Joe Scheidler today is a result of his decades of persevering presence at abortion mills throughout the nation, and is evidence of something I have always said: The best way to defend our First Amendment rights is to exercise them without fear! Joe’s victory today is our victory, too, and our clear invitation to be present at the places of death – to pray, protest, preach, counsel, intervene, and educate.
The pro-life movement needs no lectures about being “non-violent.” Our entire message is non-violence. We know it far better than those who want to preach to us. We don’t have to be reminded that we do not advance our cause by violence. Nor does Joe Scheidler have to be reminded of that.
What many grassroots pro-life citizens do have to be reminded of is that we have a right and a duty to be at the places where our unborn brothers and sisters are being killed today. When we are there, counseling and praying, holding signs and singing, preaching and handing out fliers, then lives are saved. We invite all pro-life people to study our booklet Our Media is the Streets, available at www.priestsforlife.org/brochures/ourmedia.html, to learn the many forms of peaceful presence that our Constitutional rights allow us to practice.
Along these lines, let me make a special plea to priests and pastors. We have to lead our people in fighting for justice and witnessing to truth. Being present at abortion mills is a key way to do this for the cause of saving the unborn. People will be reassured when their priest or pastor calls them to this activity, and even more so when he comes with them! So often, it is an exaggerated concern with legal ramifications that keeps us within the security of the sanctuary. But today, the highest Court in the land again reaffirms that we are on solid legal ground when we exercise our peaceful protests. Let’s not put obstacles in our own way that the Supreme Court itself is removing! Let us lead our people without hesitation or fear!
Congratulations to Joe Scheidler and the Pro-life Action League! And as someone who has prayed at abortion mills in every major city (and many smaller cities) across our land, I also congratulate the faithful pro-life people who have come out and continue to come out in solidarity with their smallest brothers and sisters. Continue to do what you are doing! There is no work on earth more important than this!
Supreme Court Syllabus of the Scheidler Case (PDF Format)
Justice Breyer Opinion on the Scheidler Case (PDF Format)
Press Release from Scheidler Attorneys