This year more than ever people need to hear and see the joy of Christmas, and what better way to show them than the age-old practice of singing Christmas Carols? The Pro-Life Action League has been taking on the task of singing Christmas Carols at abortion clinics across the country since 2003, and will be doing it again this weekend in many different locations.
In an interview with Eric Scheidler, Illinois Right to Life dug deeper into why and how the Pro-Life Action League executes this mission. They started in 2003, Scheidler explains, “It was a conversation that I had with a friend of mine who is a writer and speaker: Katrina Zino.” He explained that they were talking about how to advance the pro-life movement, particularly throughout the holiday season, and, “She just made this comment, ‘If a woman’s going to an abortion clinic during the Christmas season, if she hears Christmas carols, that will lead to a connect between Christmas carols and abortion and lead her to future repentance.”
Basically, Zino had the idea that if something so memorable as Christmas carols were associated with the day of her abortion, a woman might be more likely to investigate further, see the contrast between the beauty of the carols and the evil of abortion, and maybe come to the realization that what she did was wrong.
When asked if this event normally draws many, Scheidler replied that yes, it does. It is something that “sidewalk counseling groups love to do… The piece in the womb caroling appeals to the folks who are going to pray and sidewalk counsel.” Scheidler explains, because it is a twist on the sidewalk counselor’s usual job of talking to women outside of abortion clinics. He did mention that this is not a protest event: it is very compassionate and mild in nature. “It’s not as attractive to people who are more politically minded; we don’t get the same response from people who are more protest-minded.”
One of the reasons Scheidler believes that Peace in the Womb Caroling is so attractive to people around Christmas time is because abortion is almost the “Anti-Christmas.” Christmas is all about “Salvation of the world coming through the birth of a baby” and abortion is the opposite. Therefore, people are choosing a side. They can choose between “Celebrating a birth with the greatest possible enthusiasm versus trying to avoid a birth at all costs,” the first of which is Christmas and the second is abortion.
Scheidler explains that there will always be opposition in the pro-life movement, whether it is the opposition of pro-life protests or funding for pregnant women, and the same applies to Peace in the Womb Caroling. “Most of the pushback comes from our opponents,” Scheidler explains. “Sometimes they bring amplification to try to disrupt our singing, or they try singing along using vulgarity.” He cites an anecdote: an experience Pro-Life Action League had a few years ago.
This anecdote took place at Access Health Care Center in Downer’s Grove. “There was a counter-protester woman there,” Scheidler explains, “She was wearing the most vulgar Christmas themed Christmas t-shirt imaginable involving a nun and the Savior.” She was shrilly jingling some jingle bells, trying to drown out the carols, and all the sudden one of the elderly in the pro-life group passed out. One of the group members went over to the woman and asked her politely to stop jingling the bells because of the confusion going on involving the lady who had passed out.
The lady’s response was one Scheidler will never forget. She looked one of the pro-life action league members in the eye, and said directly, “You don’t respect my body, so I won’t respect your body.” The absolute uncompassionate and cold nature of their opposes sometimes shocks members of the Pro-Life Action League and especially saddens them during the holiday season, when most people are trying to spread peace and goodwill. Caroling in front of abortion clinics is the Pro-Life Action League’s way of spreading this joy and peace, and they won’t stop being a part of the good in the world.
An anecdote in the other direction, a story about a time when Pro-Life Action League actually saved a life through pro-life caroling, is as follows. The first year Pro-Life Action League participated in Peace in the Womb Christmas Caroling, they were singing “Silent Night” as their last song. Scheidler describes: “For the last carol we moved right outside the door, sang with our full voices, round yon virgin mother and child.” On hearing those words, one of the women in the clinic left. She just got up and left the clinic. She told the group later that “After hearing that I can’t go through with it.” She decided to leave, and later some of the pro-lifers confirmed that she hadn’t gone through with it. This shows the power that the words of the Christmas Carols have, and why it is so important to be there in this way for these women.
Scheidler ends the interview with the clarity that “we’re primarily there for the women, to remind them that they can say yes just as Mary said yes.” He explains how poor the Holy Family was, how uncertain and unclear their situation was, and how they struggled and fought to give Jesus, our savior, the best life possible.
Christmas Caroling has been around for centuries and is something that is known for spreading the peace and joy of the holiday season. What better place to spread this than right outside of the place most women will regret going into for the rest of their lives, to give them a glimpse that there is a better, more peaceful and loving option: choosing life.
If you are interested in joining in this wonderful pro-life holiday tradition, you can find more details about the event here.