Joe Scheidler, founder of the Pro-Life Action League and a longtime supporter of the pro-life movement, died Monday. He was 93.
According to the Associated Press, Scheidler died of pneumonia.
Many called him the “godfather of pro-life activism.”
Scheidler and his wife, Ann, founded the Pro-Life Action League in 1980, and he was widely known as the man downtown who held up signs against abortion with pictures of fetuses.
Scheidler also wrote a book on abortion and produced videos about the issue.
His oldest son, Eric Scheidler, told the Chicago Sun-Times that his father “devoted five decades of his long life to proclaiming the value of human life at its most vulnerable stage, the child in the womb.”
Former U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski released a statement this week, expressing his condolences and thanking Scheidler for “drawing attention to laws that put unborn children outside the protection of our Constitution.”
“His efforts to educate the general public and to protest the killing of unborn children earned the admiration of millions of Americans across the country,” Lipinski wrote.
Scheidler was born in Indiana in 1927. He served in the U.S. Navy as a military policeman during World War II. He also studied to become a priest, but later decided to move to Chicago where he married and started a family.
In 1986, the National Organization for Women named Scheidler in a lawsuit, alleging there had been violence as pro-life supporters protested at abortion clinics. Finally, after 20 years in courts, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Scheidler. The Pro-Life Action League called the win a “decisive victory.”
Mary FioRito, an attorney and fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., said Scheidler had likely been named in the lawsuit because of his reputation and for “a certain degree of effectiveness in turning women away from abortion clinics.”
He is survived by his wife, seven children, 26 grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
Photo courtesy: ©Eric Scheidler Facebook
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.