A pro-life group is holding a weeklong “Face the Truth” tour in the Chicago area, sharing pictures of preborn babies with the public in an attempt to “invoke a sense of real sympathy for the victims of abortion.”
The Pro-Life Action League’s 22nd annual Face the Truth tour kicks off Friday and will last through June 26. With the exception of Sunday, pro-life activists will be stationed at 24 locations (three each day) throughout the city.
“Participants will visit sites throughout the Chicago area, holding pictures of beautiful unborn babies along with signs showing the victims of abortion,” the Pro-Life Action League’s website states.
This year’s Face the Truth tour is held in memory of Pro-Life Action League founder Joseph Scheidler, who died on Jan. 18.
“The goal of the Face the Truth tour is to make people care about these members of the human family who are so often overlooked, abandoned, ignored, whose humanity is denied, whose lives have no value before the law,” Eric Scheidler, the president of the Pro-Life Action League, said in an interview with The Christian Post.
Scheidler expressed a desire to “invoke a sense of real sympathy for the victims of abortion in … the hearts and minds of everyone who passes by our display.”
He also shared the reasoning behind the group’s decision to hold the Face the Truth tour at this time of year.
“During the summer, there’s much more foot traffic outside. There’s more regular traffic, people driving to summer events and … driving around … traveling from one part of the country to another. … People are more out and about during the summer months. There’s also greater visibility. We have more daylight hours, and we’re able to inspire volunteers to come out when the weather’s good.”
“It’s really the perfect conditions between the amount of traffic out in the public spaces … and the good climate for getting out into the public, and going outdoors and doing a display like this,” he continued. “So summer’s really the best time.”
According to Scheidler, “The main goal is to be reaching the general public, so we pick locations that have [a] high level of traffic, [and a] good level of visibility” where “people can actually see the signs as they’re passing by," Scheidler said.
While the Face the Truth tour has taken place in the Chicago area every year since 2000, Scheidler described this year’s tour as “special” because of its commemoration of his late father.
“He was a huge advocate for showing the pictures of abortion,” Scheidler recalled. “He was in his 90s still going to the Face the Truth tour.”
Scheidler explained to CP why his father was often considered the godfather of the pro-life movement: “He raised up leaders all over the country. He pushed people to go farther, to make a bigger commitment. So he was in that sort of role of a Godfather who encourages, who gives people their marching orders, who they look up to and trust.”
“He wrote the pro-life activist manual 99 Ways to Stop Abortion," Scheidler said. "And he rose to international fame during the course of the NOW v. Scheidler lawsuit.” In that case, “the National Organization for Women sued him as a racketeer, using the racketeering laws that are designed to go after gangsters, organized crime.”
“He ultimately won that case in the United States Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling … and that is another reason that I think people really looked up to him,” the pro-life activist added. “He was also an imposing figure … tall and handsome and well-spoken, very talented guy, and very charismatic. So he was a figure that people trusted and admired and felt called to follow because of the example that he offered to people.”
Scheidler predicted that dedicating this year’s Face the Truth tour to his father is “going to really inspire people to get involved.”
He expects about 300 people to participate in the tour, and “some of those people will be with us for every stop, others will join us for just one or two stops,” he added, noting that the country is “really opening up” after the COVID-19 lockdowns.
In addition to honoring the memory of Joseph Scheidler, this year’s Face the Truth tour comes after the Supreme Court announced that it will review a lower court decision striking down a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks gestation, a move that pro-lifers see as potentially setting the stage for the partial overturn of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision establishing a right to abortion.
Eric Scheidler views this year’s “Face the Truth” tour as a perfect opportunity to rally public opinion in the pro-life movement’s favor.
“We’re especially excited to be taking to the streets with this display showing the reality of abortion … the violence and injustice of abortion right at this time. Because America is going to be paying very close attention to the abortion issue as the Supreme Court takes up this case. So we see a real opportunity to get out there and show the American people that they really should support the Mississippi law.”
One of the pictures that will be on display is of a baby at 15 weeks gestation. “That’s the perfect sort of message to share with people at a time when a 15-week abortion ban is before the U.S. Supreme Court," he stressed.
While Scheidler reported that the Pro-Life Action League’s “encounters with the public are rarely violent,” during the Face the Truth tours, the pro-life activism does not come without its challenges.
“Over the course of the two decades we’ve been doing the Face the Truth tours, we have had numerous challenging encounters with the public,” he said. “We get people swearing; we get people throwing things sometimes. We’ve had knives thrown at us; we’ve had eggs thrown at us; we’ve had our signs thrown out onto the street. We’ve … even had volunteers and staff members attacked physically by people over the course of the years. And we’ve had to call the police, and we’ve had arrests, and we’ve had people spat on.”
Acknowledging that “it’s a controversial thing” to share pictures of aborted babies with the public, Scheidler maintained that “it’s an urgent thing to do.”
He pushed back against claims that the pictures the Pro-Life Action League shares at these events scare children.
“In fact, the pictures that we’ve chosen to use, the display that ... we use, it’s really not very gory. These aren’t bloody, gory, violent pictures. They show the reality of abortion in a way adults can perceive, recognize what happened.”
Scheidler contended that when people express concerns about the pictures of aborted babies’ impact on children, “it’s really just kind of an excuse” by those seeking to avoid being “reminded about abortion. They want to use children as a shield, saying, ‘Well, it’s bad for children, children shouldn’t see them,’ when what they really mean is: ‘I don’t want to see them … I don’t want to see those pictures.’”
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org