Illinois Right to Life mourns the death of Joe Scheidler, 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, Joe Scheidler passed this morning, January 18, 2021. 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.
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.
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 Joe 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.
Everyone at Illinois Right to Life extends their deepest condolences to Joe’s wife, Ann, his children, and his entire family.
Rest in peace, Joe. The world is a better place because of you.