Aurora, Illinois Police Crack Down on Abortion Protesters at New Center

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 16, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Aurora, Illinois Police Crack Down on Abortion Protesters at New Center Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 16
, 2007

Aurora, IL ( — Observers of the abortion fray in Aurora had to expect a confrontation between police and pro-life advocates eventually. The building of a massive new Planned Parenthood abortion center there has brought out hundreds of protesters on a frequent basis and now police are threatening arrests if they don’t obey their instructions.

Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood’s next rally is Saturday and Police Chief Bill Powell told members of the city council at Tuesday night’s meeting that arrests may occur.

"We have bent over backwards to accommodate the protesters there, but they are starting to abuse us," Powell said, according to the Herald News. "They threaten us out there; they threaten to sue us. They shove cameras in our faces as a way to intimidate us and get what they want."

Eric Scheidler, organizer of the pro-life efforts to stop the new abortion center, says that’s an absurd claim.

He told the newspaper that local police have been inconsistent in their instructions on what pro-life protesters should do. Every protest seems to include new directions on where to stand or what laws to follow, he says, and he can’t seem to get a clear answer from local officials.

"I don’t know how to deal with people with whom communication seems to be impossible," he said. "I would welcome a clear, concise statement, if I had any confidence it would be adhered to and followed."

Powell said he has no plans to give the pro-life advocates clear instructions on how to legally protest the new center in upcoming events.

Scheidler’s group has already sued the city for First Amendment violations and is worried that the confusion between his group and police officials will continue.

"I get the sense that the 27th was them laying the groundwork to get tough with us," he said of Powell and a city attorney’s presence at the last protest.

He says if arrests are made on Saturday of confused protesters doing their best to comply with local ordinances and police instructions, the city can expect a "massive lawsuit."