Pro-Life Activism During a Pandemic

On Saturday, November 14, an Illinois Right to Life employee went to pray by the Aurora Planned Parenthood and talk to the others who were there along with them. A few members of Pro-Life Action League were there leading some conversation and prayer, and Illinois Right to Life got the chance to talk with them.

Chris Iverson, a very active member of Pro-Life Action League, had much to say about the work they do and how it has changed while keeping its core values during this year of quarantine, and even during lockdown. One main point Iverson put emphasis on is Pro-Life Action League’s commitment to life, and commitment to continuous fighting for life even when the rest of the world seems uncertain and inconsistent.

He first remembers a very important event they held last year that revealed just one of the absolute horrors that has come from abortion. “Klopfer hid 2,000 babies in his home,” he explains, referring to heart wrenching discovery of baby bodies found in this abortion doctor’s home. Iverson explains that after this horrific event, himself and the Pro-Life Action League stood on highway bridges near Chicago and throughout Illinois and Indiana dressed as if they were to attend a funeral. He remembers some peoples’ actions, “They were really surprised by that because then they had to think about, ‘So, should we bury them? What should we do?” Pro-Life Action League’s goal in these events, Iverson explains, is to raise awareness of these questions, and leave them to sit in peoples’ minds so that hopefully, eventually they will feel called to take action to right this wrong.

Iverson explained that shortly after this event COVID-19 hit. “I’m a board member of the Pro-Life Action league, when Covid hit we had to cancel a lot of our bridge events, we had to figure out what was okay to do.” This was a time of a lot of discernment for these members: they knew that innocent lives were still being taken every day and they had to figure out what the best actions to take in this situation were, while their resources and gathering spaces were very limited.

“In the city of Chicago, things were just tense,” Iverson explained about the past 8 months, and especially in the past few months. “You had huge protests where the police couldn’t keep things under control,” he remembers, “They lifted the bridges and all that, things were on fire, there was an Aurora police car on fire… you just didn’t know what to expect.” He voices the concerns of all those who might have been in the city of Chicago, and especially those who were hoping to host events. Iverson concludes, “We still do things but we’ve toned back a bit.”

He explains that when they still did some events they would get different responses then before the pandemic. “People would walk past us and assume our sign said black lives matter and argue with us about that. We would say, ‘That’s really not what we’re here for, we believe human life has value, we need to respect life, that’s a problem in our society.’” Before the pandemic, Iverson explains, most people would see Pro-Life Action League and be able to identify what they were there for. Now, there are so many movements protesting in so many different ways that it is harder to identify exactly what each group stands for.

He remembers one moment of violence a few months back, and explains, “We had this young woman in her early twenties… at some point she just lost it. She was attacking our signs, she was climbing up on the fence on the bridge, she was like detaching it, pulling it down.” This is not a normal event for Pro-Life Action League to experience, Iverson explains, and he says that they have had one other incident like it during the course of the past few months. “Those are the only times we’ve really had anyone be aggressive… I just think people are really on edge.” 

People are on edge for many reasons, Iverson admits, and is hopeful that in the new year Pro-Life Action League will be able to return to normal. “Maybe now that it’s getting colder and the election is over and things are opening up more [people will calm down]… we don’t anticipate this much of a problem next year.”