On June 7, pro-life leaders and activists from around the country converged on the windy city to celebrate with Joe Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action League, the landmark Supreme Court ruling in favor of the unborn. The 8 to1 ruling marked the end of a 17-year court battle in which pro-abortionists sought to use racketeering laws (RICO) against pro-life Americans.
The day began with a three-hour victory rally at Federal Plaza in the heart of downtown Chicago. Several hundred prayed, sang songs and listened to inspiring speeches from representatives from pro-life organizations. Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, Mrs. Mary Anne Hacket, president of Illinois Right to Life, and C. Preston Noell III, American TFP Chicago director, were among those represented.
After praying, Father Pavone reminded the crowd that they were there to “reaffirm that we have the right to protest in America. We have the right to protest injustices, no matter how engrained those injustices might be in the law.” Father Euteneuer hailed the fact that “this victory establishes that we have rights under the law to do what God calls us to do.”
Preston Noell began by praising the stunning 8-1 Supreme Court victory and declared: “Joe has shown the naysayers just how powerful prayer united with effective action really is. One day, we hope that abortion will simply be unthinkable, but in the meantime, we should realize that America’s future lies in the hands of her youth.”
Mrs. Hacket reminded the crowd how important the victory was, not only for the local pro-life movement, but also for the whole country. She stated that “our First Amendment free speech rights have been vindicated and now we can go on.”
At both the rally and the victory dinner, Mr. Scheidler, president of the Pro-Life Action League, recounted the trials that he, his family and many faithful had endured to overcome the years of litigation. He stressed that it was his faith in God that gave him the determination and stamina to carry out such a crusade. He called on attendees to remember that they were part of the Church Militant and had an obligation to carry on the pro-life fight.
The “Bring America Back to Life” banquet later that evening was hosted by pro-life organizer Jerry Horn. More than 500 League supporters shared in the pro-life victory. Attorney Tom Brejcha was presented with the Protector Award for his tireless work on the NOW vs. Scheidler case. Scheidler family members recounted captivating episodes of growing up in a family that strove to go against the tide. All seven children came on stage to present their parents with a pro-life award.
To conclude the evening, Mr. Scheidler asked the audience to sing the line from the motion picture of Henry V at the battle of Agincourt: Non nobis, Domine, sed nomine tuo da gloriam “Not to us, Lord, but to you goes the glory.” The evening ended as the rally had begun twelve hours before, with a prayer by Father Pavone.