AURORA — Six years later, Eric Scheidler is still protesting.
Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, was joined by about 100 people Wednesday night in commemorating the sixth anniversary of the controversial opening of a Planned Parenthood facility in Aurora.
In a four-minute speech at the rally Wednesday on a nearby lot, Bishop Daniel Conlon of the Diocese of Joliet said the protester’s pro-life, anti-abortion mission must always be grounded in love.
“Love is not completely rational or reasonable. It takes something that comes from our guts, to be able to pour out on behalf of another person,” Conlon said from a make-shift pulpit.
Batavia resident Kathleen Dietz said many lives have been affected by the facility in the last six years, including those who have spent countless hours across the street from Planned Parenthood praying and spreading a “pro-life message.”
Scheidler led the initial protests of the facility at New York Street and Oakhurst Drive and continues to coordinate the anti-abortion outreach there. Not a lot has changed over the past six years, he said.
The facility still stands. Activists continue to protest. And people driving by continue to honk horns, hurl choice words and sign gestures.
“We always knew it was going to be really hard to keep them from opening,” Scheidler said. “From then, (six years ago), we’ve been preparing for an on-going presence at the site to minister to as many as we can.”
Fox Valley activists are still at the site almost daily to “tirelessly reach out to abortion-bound women,” he said.
In April, the vacant lot’s owner, Safeway Corporation, put up “No Trespassing” signs, but no other efforts have deterred the Pro-Life Action League from continuing to protest at the site, he said.
Scheidler, who lives in Aurora, said the activists convinced 65 women to choose against abortion at the Aurora clinic in the last six years.
“It’s really sobering to think about. Some of those kids are five and six years old today,” Scheidler said. “We’re not giving up.”
Aurora’s non-profit Planned Parenthood facility opened in October 2007. The agency provides reproductive, maternal and child health services to women and men.
A Planned Parenthood representative was not available for comment Wednesday.