Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood

City Council Hears Our Stories

Posted by Eric Scheidler on Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

City Council Meeting 8-28I don't have the words to express my appreciation and gratitude for all the wonderful pro-lifers who stood up before the City Council last night, and on into this morning, telling their personal stories about why Planned Parenthood is bad for Aurora.

Many times during the nearly six hours of statements from pro-lifers, I was nearly overcome not only by the moving stories people had to tell—of loss and sorrow and anguish, of hope and promise and exhortation—but by the tremendous faithfulness and courage before my eyes.

I also have to give a lot of credit to the Mayor and the Council. They listened to 100 pro-life citizens, the great majority residents of Aurora, for nearly six hours! Only two people rose to speak in defense of Planned Parenthood—and to ask the Council to remove our little white crosses.

Mayor Weisner promised us the investigation he launched on Monday will be truly open and broad, with consequences for Planned Parenthood if fraud is discovered. I’m certain our presence yesterday was instrumental, and I know we moved a step forward yesterday.

That said, I remain doubtful that we can expect the City to really do the right thing here. Because even as we were speaking, one after another, before the Council, the police—three squad cars, no less—came out to the Vigil and demanded that the prayer warriors there get rid of the deck box and cooler, or face arrest.

On what charge I cannot imagine. Normally this would be a matter of writing a simple citation. I find it very difficult to reconcile the capricious behavior of the police—no doubt operating under instructions from above—and the assurances we were offered by the Mayor that our concerns will be fully addressed.

Meanwhile, we can be proud of what we accomplished in the City Council last night. If nothing else, we gave our representatives a lot to think about. They all learned more about abortion and its horrors last night then in all the years of their lives up until our statements began at 7:45.

Unfortunately, I do not have the time to give the thorough synopsis I would like to, but Joe's Lab and Jill Stanek have written up some reflections, and Jill has posted a photo montage.

Long story short, the City Council at least now realizes that allowing Planned Parenthood into Aurora was a colossal blunder that threatens to undo the City's recent revitalization, and we now have statements on record from the Mayor that we can hold him to.

Finally, I'd like to offer the text of my statement before the City Council. By good fortune, I came second in the lineup, after the eloquent and inspiring Fr. Heinz of Holy Angels parish. My actual remarks had to be abridged to fit within the three-minute limit; the following is my original, complete statement:

Remarks to the City Council, August 28, 2007

My thanks to the City Council for allowing me to stand here and speak on the issue of Planned Parenthood’s presence in our community.

My name is Eric Scheidler. I live at 839 Garfield Avenue in Aurora with my wife April and our eight children. We live in the 4th Ward and are represented in the City Council by Alderman Rick Lawrence. My family and I are parishioners at St. George Catholic Church in the 1st Ward. We are very involved in the parish and I am a cantor there.

My family and I moved to Aurora two years ago. We had six children at that time, so my daughters Mary and Sarah are “native born” Aurorans. We moved here because we considered Aurora to be a family-friendly city, a wholesome place to raise our kids.

We found Aurora to be much more affordable than the suburbs near Chicago, and much quieter. As an avid cyclist, I welcomed the opportunity to reach peaceful country roads only a five-minute ride from my door. Another important factor for us was the significant role that the many churches of Aurora clearly play in this community. Aurora is a church-going town.

But I am not just a husband and father and a church-going Catholic. I am also the Communications Director of the Pro-Life Action League, an organization founded in 1980 by my father, Joe Scheidler, to save mothers and their babies from abortion through peaceful direct action. The League is headquartered in Chicago, and I work out of an office in Aurora.

So when I learned that what is now being billed as the largest abortion facility in the nation would be opening up in my community, I took not only a personal interest but a professional one as well. I knew that I had to do something about it. And so it has been my privilege to facilitate the efforts of the Aurora community to address what we consider a grave threat to our families and our neighborhoods.

I am also the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against the City of Aurora. The City, which today in the Beacon News admitted to being inexperienced dealing with large-scale protests, has in my view failed to respect the First Amendment rights of the pro-lifers who have been praying and protesting outside the Planned Parenthood building since August 9.

But I’m not here to address the particulars of the case, but to point out that this federal lawsuit is typical of the kind of disruption that Planned Parenthood brings to a community. Contrary to what Planned Parenthood Chicago Area CEO Steve Trombley told reporters Saturday after more than 1,200 area citizens gathered for a massive pro-life rally at the site, we will not “go back to our normal lives” in a few weeks.

If Planned Parenthood opens up on September 18 as scheduled, we will continue to maintain a pro-life presence there to offer a real choice to women, the choice for life, and to continue to stand against Planned Parenthood’s dangerous influence upon our children, which I’m sure you will hear a great deal about this evening.
We’re not going away. You need to know that from the beginning.

Because in contrast to what we’ve seen from Planned Parenthood, we are committed to acting openly and honestly. We are committed to the truth. We will not deceive you. We will not pretend to be someone that we are not.

Planned Parenthood has not treated the City with that kind of honesty, the kind of honesty that the City deserves and which I, as an Aurora citizen and voter, expect from any organization that seeks to do business with the City and her citizens.

Specifically, I would like to call attention to the November 16, 2006 meeting of the Planning and Development Committee, Agenda Item 18:

Alderman Elmore: It[the Gemini building]'s a nice buffer between them and the retail center, and these usually are pretty quiet because they usually function in the daytime and that makes in nice. I'd be interested to know who your client is, when you can release that.

Gentleman [unnamed representative of Gemini]: Ok.

We now know—as I believe will be amply demonstrated to the City Council this evening—that there never was a “client”; that Gemini Development Corporation was never anything more than a front company for Planned Parenthood to set up in Aurora without any public scrutiny— without any input from the community that Planned Parenthood claims to be here to serve.

Yet throughout the approval process, not just before the Planning and Development Committee but in their permit applications and other documents, “Gemini” consistently stated that their “tenant” was unknown. But in a story in the Chicago Tribune July 27 entitled, “Clinic built under wraps,” we learned that Gemini is nothing but a subsidiary of Planned Parenthood.

And so I would like to return to the deception worked upon Alderman Elmore. As any responsible Alderman would do, she sat on the Planning and Development Committee November 16, 2006 looking out for the interests of her constituents. She knew that the residents of Oakhurst, like all of us, value quiet and peace in their neighborhood.

She welcomed the information that the property at Oakhurst and New York would be a quiet medical office rather than, for example, a busy strip mall.

But that information was false. Representatives of Gemini Development Corporation sat there that day knowing full well who their so-called “client” was. They knew that they were bringing not peace and quiet to Oakhurst and Aurora, but a lightning rod of controversy.

One can hardly imagine a business less quiet and peaceful, less likely to enhance a neighborhood, than an abortion business. The very fact that Planned Parenthood hid behind the Gemini mask is proof that they knew full well that their massive abortion facility would meet with substantial public resistance.

Planned Parenthood Chicago Area CEO Steve Trombley admitted as much in the Chicago Tribune article I mentioned when he said , “Frankly, I’m surprised we were able to keep it a secret for so long.”

Trombley went on to say, “We didn’t want anything to interfere with the opening.” It is most unfortunate that Steve Trombley and Planned Parenthood consider openness and honesty and input from the community to be “interference” with their business.

And so I am here today to call upon the City Council to vote in favor of a resolution calling for a truly independent and open investigation of the approval process surrounding the property at 3051 E. New York Street, in order to determine whether, as I believe, Planned Parenthood is guilty of fraud.

During the course of this independent investigation, I ask that Planned Parenthood not be allowed to open their doors.

Finally, I request that the findings of such an investigation be made public, and if fraud is indeed discovered, Planned Parenthood’s approvals be revoked.

Thank you.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2007 at 4:44 pm and is filed under Legal and Political, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

11 Responses to “City Council Hears Our Stories”

  1. Christina Dunigan says:

    The email I sent to Ms. Kristin Zambo (kzambo@scn1.com), the enthusiastic PP supporter who has been turning the Aurora Beacon News into a Planned Parenthood newsletter:

    Dear Ms. Zambo,

    Your coverage of the Planned Parenthood stealth clinic sounds like it's taken virtually verbatim from Planned Parenthood press releases, to the point where I'm going to suggest to Eric Schiedler that he get copies of the press releases in question and compare them to your stories. You'll note that I'm sending his organizaiton a cc of this email. I'm also sending copies to the editors you work for.

    I realize that you did some independent research — to try to back PP's claims that their stealth clinic is "needed" and "wanted" in Aurora. You did zero research that I can see to look into the concerns expressed by opponents of the facility.

    You also forget that people know what you're ommitting as well. Such as the fact that Jakubowski, the former abortionist for the city, was such a seedy, greedy quack that even the feminists wanted to see him shut down. A real "man bites dog" story that I notice you didn't consider worth bringing up in your concise history of abortion in Aurora.

    There's also the fact that the city council meeting in question was packed with opponents of the stealth clinic, but you only quoted one of the facility's two supporters at length.

    You made abundantly clear your viewpoint that the opponents of the facilty are wasting everybody's time, just a bunch of troublemakers who should shut up and go home:

    "turning the usually staid meeting into a sometimes fiery exchange, shouting down one alderman and plowing through a three-minute speaking time rule."

    "124 people signed up to talk about the health center — an item not on the City Council's agenda."

    "the 6:15 p.m. meeting dragged late into the night."

    "After the outburst"

    You gave the impression that out-of-towners were trying to silence Aurora citizens:

    "As Alderman Leroy Keith, 9th Ward, called for comments to be cut off at 9 p.m. and allow Aurora residents first crack at speaking, he was met with yells of "No! No!" through the crowd."

    The reports I've read from people who attended were that the opponents of the facility were very much in favor of allowing Aurora residents to speak first. They were only opposed to the cut-off time.

    And you made it plain that you see no problem with how PP slid their plans in under the radar:

    "The center was approved by the council's Planning and Development Committee last November and did not require full City Council approval." With no mention of the false statements made on applications.

    The world is watching you, Ms. Zambo, and you're not putting on a very credible act.

    Christina Dunigan

    I cc'd Families Against Planned Parenthood (info@familiesagainstplannedparenthood.org), Managing Editor Denise Crosby (dcrosby@scn1.com), Associate Editor John Russell (,jrussell@scn1.com), News Editor Tom Johnson (tjohnson@scn1.com), and Content Specialist Joseph DeRosier (jderosier@scn1.com)

    August 29th, 2007 at 5:56 pm
  2. Christina Dunigan says:

    Oops, Eric, I spelled your name wrong! Sorry! Just noticed. Oh, well.

    August 29th, 2007 at 6:02 pm
  3. Cynthia H. says:

    I wish I could have been there . . . well, maybe not; I've never had much patience with parliamentary procedure. I did write an e-mail to the Aurora mayor pointing out that the clinic is going to be a major disruption to Oakhurst and the businesses on New York St — I guess you must have been praying for me, Eric! Dunno what the opinion of someone 30 miles away in the Fox Valley is going to stand for, but at least I put my 2c worth in.

    August 29th, 2007 at 6:42 pm
  4. Reeny M. says:

    I am very impressed with all of the hard work Eric Scheidler has put into this issue and equally gratified by the support he was able to elicit, including the eloquence of the people who came forward to expose the insidious actions and general dishonesty of Planned Parenthood. I will continue to pray daily for everyone involved whether they support or fight against this organization. I wish everyone God's mercy and peace.

    August 29th, 2007 at 8:00 pm
  5. Laurie Paulson says:

    Excellent–Eric!!!

    You guys are really going after the facts and the truth will set us free—the babies, the women –thank you—all of you. You are the "Today" example of our Lord…

    God Bless,

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

    August 29th, 2007 at 8:09 pm
  6. Greg Guest says:

    I was truly moved with several emotions, during that meeting. The Lord speaks gives us the words when we speak for his people. I was thinking about leaving Aurora off my address, but since hereing from the Aurora citizens I am proud to show that name–Aurora.

    August 30th, 2007 at 9:08 am
  7. Pat Fleming says:

    There were three of us from St. Patrick Parish in St. Charles, IL who attended the Council Meeting in Aurora. We spent most of the time out in the hall but were able to hear the speakers. I was so moved by the deep concerns and heartfelt remarks given by so many Aurora residents. It was awe inspiring just to be in the presence of so many good people who are letting their voices be heard on the side of Pro-Life. I pray that this clinic will never open.

    August 30th, 2007 at 10:20 am
  8. Paul says:

    I was very edified by the presence of several Protestant ministers and Catholic priests at the meeting and by their courageous verbal witness to the evil of PP. Especially moving was the very first to speak, Fr. Martin Heinz of Holy Angels Catholic Church in Aurora. His words set the tone for the next nearly six hours of comments. God bless him and all who spoke. Everyone was so articulate, no matter exactly their words. Some were extremely moving. Everyone spoke from their heart. God bless all. Let's continue to pray and fast so that this evil place never opens its doors.

    August 30th, 2007 at 2:15 pm
  9. Mike says:

    Has anyone seen the video's Jill Stanek has put together on both the Pro-Life Rally and the Council Hearing? If not, you can watch them here (See post #20 and #26)…

    http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=174188&page=2

    Mike

    August 31st, 2007 at 12:34 pm
  10. KELLY MARKHAM says:

    Hi.
    I just want to remind our fellow Pro-Life supporters that Jesus COMMANDED us to love our enemies and to do good to those who persecute us.
    I am convinced that although P.P. is an evil enterprise, many who support and use it are sincere, but horribly misguided, in their concern for women who find themselves in circumstances that they feel incapable of responding to in any other way and who may be pressured in ways of which we have no conception.
    I remember Jesus charging the Jewish leaders of His church of laying heavy burdens on the backs of people and not lifting a finger to help them.
    Granted, we have many resources that offer other chioices now. However, we must remember that in November of 1973, all we did was say (in effect), "You can't do that!"
    For many, many years, as abortion was sinking its roots deep into our society, we did almost nothing to help! WHAT WERE WE THINKING?! THAT IT WAS JUST GOING TO GO AWAY?
    Don't get me wrong – prayer is the greatest power on the face of the earth, but we are called to much more than just peaceful, prayerful protest. We are called to love! So, let's not treat these PEOPLE as if they are the scum of the earth!
    I was at the City Council Meeting and so much wanted to say something to the first P.P. speaker. She was tiny and so brave to get up in front of the likes of some of us and defend what she believed in! We are not called to judge her but to love her and others who see this "service" as valuable.
    I believe we are witnessing the turning of the tide that my Mother has been fighting by means of the written word from day one. Let's not get so justified in our attitudes that we forget that we are fighting EVIL and not PEOPLE!
    Thank you!
    HIS Peace!
    Kelly M.

    August 31st, 2007 at 2:26 pm
  11. Janet Geiger says:

    Kelly M., thank you for your timely reminder. I too was struck with the woman from NOW, that she would speak before a crowd so obviously unfavorable to what she had to say. I hope some of us can reach out to her in a peaceful, loving way.

    I'm also thinking of the Pregnancy Information Centers, or PIC's, who do the opposite of PP's work. How about if we get behind these POSITIVE organizations like we have joined together against the NEGATIVE organization of PP. The PIC's are quietly working on the front lines, saving babies & supporting women. God bless them.

    I was at the City Council meeting, speaker number 30-ish, and wrote a response to the next day's article. It didn't get published, but that's ok. I think all our calls and letters have had an impact; the Beacon's coverage has been much more balanced, and we need to let them know we appreciate it.

    JTG

    Here's my letter to the Beacon. Thanks to my husband for editing.

    To the editor:

    I was greatly disappointed in the August 29 article reporting on the Aurora City Council meeting, which I attended. The reporter, Kristen Zambo, not only showed reprehensible bias; she also woefully misrepresented the emphasis of the meeting.

    Most of the residents who spoke addressed one of a few key issues, none of which were mentioned in Zambo’s article:
     There are persistent, substantial allegations of Gemini’s deceit.
     The city’s investigation into these allegations should be truly independent, with findings made fully public.
     There are widespread charges against Planned Parenthood of breaking the law by not reporting findings of child sexual abuse.
     For Aurora to be known regionally and nationwide as the site of the largest Planned Parenthood facility in the country is a smudge on the reputation of the City of Lights.
     Aurora calls itself “A Character Counts Community.” Many speakers pointed out the contradiction between Gemini’s purported actions and the pillar of Trustworthiness.

    Out of roughly 100 speakers, only two were pro-choice, from NOW. Zambo’s only direct quote from the community comment portion of the meeting was 78 words from one of those two women. Zambo quoted 27 words from two people’s reference to the clinic earlier in the meeting, during discussion on the city’s garbage contract, and not during the public comment portion of the meeting.

    She did not quote a single one of the pro-life speakers, including
     the many residents of Oakhurst who complained about having Planned Parenthood in their neighborhood, and described how its presence would hurt property value, quality of life, and businesses in the area
     a young teenage girl who gave a brilliantly articulate, well-thought out, and well-researched address
     an older woman, a 72-year resident of Aurora, who compared the arguments of the abortion industry to those of segregationists in the 1960’s: “They’re not really human”
     the lawyer who had found ample evidence, even with a cursory investigation, suggesting fraud
     State Senator Chris Lauzen, whom I saw being interviewed in the stairwell around 10:15 pm
     Eric Scheidler, an Aurora resident and the leader in the local fight against Planned Parenthood
     the many pastors, priests, and other clergy, including Pastor Mark Smith, who gave a respectful, friendly, but forceful address; and Pastor Dan Haas, who has a long history of leadership in community affairs and has worked for years with the city council to improve Aurora.

    The article neglected an important fact of the meeting, that Mayor Weisner announced that the city has initiated an investigation into the issue.

    The vocal dissent Zambo calls “shouting down the alderman” was to Alderman Keith’s motion to end discussion at 9:00, and not to the motion for Aurora residents to be given the floor before other speakers. This motion was not made until after aldermen had voted not to end the meeting at 9:00, but to stay until everyone who had signed up had spoken.

    The crowd was not “filled with people from Chicago, Bolingbrook, Naperville, Batavia and St. Charles, West Chicago, Wheaton and Round Lake Beach, among other communities.” The majority of the crowd were Aurora residents. People from other communities attended because the Planned Parenthood facility will affect many more communities than just Aurora; smaller Planned Parenthood facilities in other locations, where abortions are not performed, will send women and girls to Aurora for the procedure – another point that was brought out in the meeting, but not in the article.

    This meeting was not about “harassment and intimidation,” but about allowing the democratic process to work. Kudos to the mayor and the city council for making the sacrifice to stay until the wee hours of the morning.

    With respect to this story and the coverage of the Aurora Planned Parenthood facility, the Beacon has failed to report the news faithfully. Kristen Zambo has been assigned to 10 out of 12 of the last articles on this issue, including others with a decided bias. I would suggest that the Beacon reassign coverage of the Planned Parenthood story to another writer who can report free from bias.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Janet T. Geiger
    Aurora, IL

    September 2nd, 2007 at 7:02 pm

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