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Joe Scheidler.

Pro-life hero Joe Scheidler leaves lasting legacy

An icon in the pro-life movement passed away Monday, Jan. 18. Joe Scheidler, founder of the Pro-Life Action League, was 93.

Scheidler was considered a hero to the pro-life movement for his decades-long leadership and commitment to unborn children, the disabled and elderly.

He is perhaps best known for being the target of an abortion industry lawsuit, NOW v Scheidler. The landmark case went to the US Supreme Court three times and through which he secured the rights of pro-life advocates across the United States to witness for life and protest outside of abortion clinics.

Schneider’s iconic involvement with life advocacy helped birth the Thomas More Society – a national not-for-profit law firm actively involved in preserving the sanctity of human life and protecting the rights of life advocates.

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In a  press release announcing his passing, Illinois Right to Life (IRL) called him a true hero of the pro-life movement.

Dubbed the “Father of Pro-Life Activism” by many, pro-life author, speaker, activist, father, and grandfather of many, his impact on the pro-life movement cannot be overstated. “Scheidler’s unyielding pro-life activism made him a pillar of the pro-life community and certainly saved countless lives,” stated IRL.

Early on, Scheidler abandoned his career in public relations to become a full-time, pro-life activist shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. He first worked as executive director of Illinois Right to Life and soon developed, along with the help of his wife, Ann, the Pro-Life Action League: one of the most noteworthy direct-action pro-life organizations in the country.

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Scheidler’s work was such a threat to abortion advocates that the National Organization for Women (NOW) filed suit against Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action League, alleging that their pro-life activities violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). This case was litigated for over 20 years, ending in 2006 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Scheidler stating that they could not use a civil RICO claim to stop the activities of pro-lifers.

Scheidler put his eloquent writing to work in multiple pro-life books and videos. His first was “Closed: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion,” published in 1985 and many years later, “Racketeer for Life,” a memoir of his more than 40 years as a pro-life activist, which was published in 2016. He also filmed many powerful videos about different aspects of the pro-life movement including “Abortion: The Inside Story” and “Meet the Abortion Providers.”

His extensive work on behalf of the most vulnerable made Scheidler one of the heroes of the pro-life movement.

“His life has been and will continue to be an inspiration to pro-life advocates for years to come,” stated IRL.

–Metro Voice and wire services