Joe (Joseph) Scheidler is National Director of the Pro-Life Action League, a national pro-life educational and activist organization headquartered in Chicago dedicated to saving lives through peaceful activism and to bringing the abortion issue to the public via the media. It has been said that Joseph Scheidler defined pro-life direct peaceful action.
Father of Pro-Life Activism
Joe Scheidler's book on his methods of fighting abortion, CLOSED: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion, was updated in 1993, and he has produced the videos Meet the Abortion Providers and Abortion: The Inside Story, featuring former abortionists who are now telling the truth about what goes on in the abortion clinics.
Joe also produced the definitive video on sidewalk counseling, No Greater Joy, and Face the Truth, an 11-minute video on a unique, highly visible pro-life demonstration using large graphic abortion posters to bring the truth about abortion to the American public. To celebrate the League's 25th Anniversary, Joe produced the video, Action Speaks Louder Than Words, a chronicle of the Pro-Life Action League's activities and the importance of pro-life activism.
Joe Scheidler has been featured in the national media as the chief defendant in a RICO lawsuit brought against him, the League and other pro-life activists by the National Organization for Women and two abortion clinics.
The RICO case, NOW v. Scheidler, was filed in 1986. He originally won in the lower courts, but the case was sent back to the federal court by the U.S. Supreme Court in January, 1994. It went to trial March 2, 1998. Scheidler and the other defendants were found guilty of racketeering by a six-member jury. That finding was finally overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in February 2003.
Unwilling to concede defeat, NOW appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to undo the Supreme Court's mandate. The U.S. Supreme Court heard the case again in November 2005 and issued a unanimous decision in favor of Scheidler in February 2006. However, NOW has continued to wrangle over the details of the final judgment in district court and the case remained open for many more months.