Aurora Pro-Life Advocates Sue Planned Parenthood Over Bad Comments

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 24, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Aurora Pro-Life Advocates Sue Planned Parenthood Over Bad Comments Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 24,

Aurora, IL ( — The next chapter in the abortion saga in Aurora, Illinois has opened as pro-life advocates have filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood over potentially libelous comments. CEO Steve Trombley is under fire for making comments about local pro-life advocates and accusing them of advocating violence.

Most of the abortion debate there has centered on a massive new abortion center Planned Parenthood opened under another name that it had hoped to open last week.

During the battle over the new facility, Trombley told one local media outlet that pro-life advocates engage in violence and that was the reason Planned Parenthood kept the new abortion center a secret for so long.

"We certainly kept the building of this facility private in an effort not to alert our opposition, who have a history of criminal behavior," Trombley said.

That and other comments has pro-life advocates upset and Eric Scheilder of the Pro-Life Action League, which has been leading the fight against the new center, filed suit Tuesday in Kane County.

The suit specifically cites a letter in which Trombley also made the violence accusations.

The letter went to the mayor and members of city council and in an ad in the Aurora Beacon newspaper.

In it, he said those "opposing our new facility … have a well-documented history of advocating violence against both persons and property as well as other related criminal activity."

Attorney Tom Brejcha of the Thomas More Society, a pro-life law firm, is representing Eric Scheidler and others in the case. He told the Beacon newspaper that the pro-life people opposing the center are non-violent.

"It’s outrageous libel," he said. "They’re a bunch of Rosary-praying Catholics holding a 40-day prayer vigil."

"Eric Scheidler, who resides with his family in Aurora … has never been arrested let alone convicted of any criminal act in connection with pro-life or anti-abortion activity. He has never advocated violence against either persons or property," Brejcha explained.

The libel lawsuit came after the law firm sent Trombley a letter demanding a retraction.

"Should you not retract your false and libelous assertions … by follow up letter, or by newspaper advertisement, or by public testimony at Aurora’s next council meeting next Tuesday evening, we shall seek legal redress," Brejcha wrote.

The lawsuit seeks damages of at least $7.5 million.

Eric Scheidler and two pro-life groups also filed suit last month against the city of Aurora alleging that the city violated the First Amendment rights of protesters. A hearing in that lawsuit is expected for October 23.