Pro-life activists stage protest at Flossmoor Planned Parenthood facility

  Holding "Moms for Life" signs, Pat Kovacs (left) and
  Kathleen Andrews, both from Orland Park, stand along
  Governors Highway in Flossmoor on Saturday
  during a protest of the new Planned Parenthood
(Photo by Mary Compton/H-F Chronicle)

Pro-life activists lined a portion of Governors Highway in Flossmoor on Saturday morning to protest the new Planned Parenthood facility, which opened in January.

  Pro-life advocates line 
  Governors Highway just 
  north of Vollmer Road 
  on Saturday. The protest 
  was organized by Pro-Life 
  Action League.
(Photo by 
  Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Eric Scheidler, executive director of Pro-Life Action League, which sponsored the protest, estimated 90 to 100 people from around the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana participated. He said he expected the protest to last about 90 minutes. 

Scheidler said the organization holds different types of protest events depending on circumstances. The fact that the Planned Parenthood of Illinois facility was closed Saturday meant a larger group could convene to bring awareness to the community about the issue of abortion.

  Pro-Life Action League's 
  founder, Joe Scheidler, 90, 
  participates in a protest 
  on Saturday in Flossmoor.
  (Photo by Eric Crump/
  H-F Chronicle)

The group's presence at clinics that offer abortion services is smaller when the facilities are open, he said, because the focus then is on counseling women who are considering abortion.

Scheidler's 90-year-old father, Joe Scheidler, was also at the protest with anti-abortion sign in hand. The elder Scheidler said he has been an anti-abortion activist since the early 1970s. He founded the Pro-Life Action League in 1980.

The organization has gained some notoriety in recent years for the use of signs with graphic portrayals of abortion.

  Sally Polesel prays as she
  leans on a sign during a
  protest in front of the
  Planned Parenthood
  building in Flossmoor.

  (Photo by Mary Compton/
  H-F Chronicle)

Joe Scheidler defended the practice, saying images have a more powerful effect on people than words.

"Seeing is believing," he said. "I understood the Holocaust when I saw the pictures in 'Life' magazine. That's what got me in, seeing pictures of abortion."

Julie Lynn, Planned Parenthood of Illinois spokesperson, provided a statement to the H-F Chronicle in response to the protest. It reads:

"The goal of anti-choice groups seeking to defund Planned Parenthood is to stop the work that Planned Parenthood does every day: provide high quality, trusted health care to our patients. Our top priority is the safety of our patients and staff, and we believe no one should be shamed when entering a health care facility. Planned Parenthood of Illinois is proud to be a part of the Flossmoor community providing much needed reproductive health care, no matter what."

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