Despite the coronavirus pandemic, abortion clinics across the United States have remained open, and one pro-life group is continuing its annual Christmas caroling events in an effort to bring women hope in a difficult time.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to engulf the United States, a pro-life group is continuing its annual Christmas caroling events in an effort to bring women hope in a difficult time.
2020 marks the seventh year that the Pro-Life Action League has conducted a project called “Peace in the Womb” Christmas caroling. As part of the project, pro-lifers in dozens of cities across the U.S. will gather in front of abortion clinics on various days in December to offer women seeking abortions a message of hope. Most of the Christmas caroling will take place on Dec. 19.
“More than any other factor, it’s fear that drives a woman to seek abortion. Fear for her future, fear of giving birth, even fear over her partners’ reaction to her pregnancy,” said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, in a statement about the caroling. “These fears have been compounded by the COVID pandemic and resulting economic downturn.”
In an interview with The Christian Post, Scheidler said his group would not let the coronavirus impede their efforts to spread the pro-life message.
“We’ve had attendance be up at some things this year and down at others,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to predict. Over the summer, we had really fantastic volunteer turnout for an education campaign we did in Chicago, and we held pretty steady for a memorial that we hold for the victims of abortion at their burial places and their memorials in September. We call it the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children.”
“So far, the number of locations is a little bit down this year because some places, particularly hard-hit states, we’ve had some of our leaders decide to either scale down the event or postpone it or wait until next year. So I do expect to see … because it’s winter and because there’s been … a seasonal increase in coronavirus, I do expect to see numbers down a little bit, but it was kind of in the range of what we’d expect at this point,” he added.
Scheidler told CP that while the Peace in the Womb project has existed for the past seven years at the national level, its inception dates back to 2003. “We’ve been doing them here in the Chicago area since 2003. The original inspiration came from a conversation I had over lunch with a Christian feminist, a woman named Katrina Zeno,” he explained.
“We were having lunch one day and she was talking about it getting closer to Christmas and how sorrowful it is to think of someone getting an abortion at Christmastime. But then an act of charity would be to go to abortion clinics and sing Christmas carols as a reminder to the women of the hope of Christmas and also kind of planting a seed for the future,” he recounted.
“The Christmas carols become a reminder that will prompt her to seek out God’s forgiveness in some future Christmas season when she hears those carols and is reminded of her experience getting the abortion. The original inspiration ... is a way of kind of planting a seed for conversion for the women who are seeking abortions, whether that conversion takes place right then and there if we change their mind or whether it happens years later as the Christmas season reminds them of the abortion.”
Scheidler agrees with Zeno that the prospect of a woman having an abortion at Christmas is a source of great sadness: “We’re putting up Christmas decorations and we’re preparing our homes for the Christmas celebration … and to think of the hope and joy that as Christians we believe comes with the birth of a child. And in the midst of that, women are seeking abortion and then having to then have that association with the Christmas season, which is a very sorrowful thing.”
According to Scheidler, “Our mission is to bring the light of the incarnation, the light of the birth of Christ to this place of despair.” He described the Peace in the Womb project as “one of the most beloved pro-life events of the year,” adding, “people who participate in it just really appreciate it a lot and keep coming back.”
Scheidler maintains that the Christmas caroling outside of abortion clinics has actually prevented abortions from taking place. He pointed to an event that unfolded this past weekend in Jacksonville, Florida, as the latest example of his group’s pro-life witness saving lives.
“In Jacksonville, Florida, a woman showed up with her daughter for an abortion and the daughter heard the singing, got real upset, went back to her car and said to her mom, ‘Find out what the heck’s going on.’ And when they heard that we were there singing Christmas carols trying to appeal to the moms to choose life, the mom and daughter left the abortion clinic and then the pro-lifers followed up and found out that the girl had absolutely chosen to keep her baby,” he recalled.
Typically, Scheidler told CP, the Peace in the Womb Christmas caroling events draw more than 1,000 people nationwide and approximately 12 to 20 people at each individual event. While the pro-life Christmas caroling has not resulted in violent clashes with pro-abortion counter-protesters, he acknowledged that heated exchanges have taken place in the past.
“We have had some very aggressive counter-protesters,” Scheidler asserted. “Aggressive, angry, anti-Christmas, anti-Christian counter-protesters will come. Sometimes, they come and they try to sing nonsense words over the caroling, they want to drown us out. They’ll get in your face but we haven’t had any physical violence despite all the aggression.”