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Pro-life in court

Fighting for Life only partially captures the vivid story of the pro-life legal battle NOW v. Scheidler


Thomas More Society

Pro-life in court
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The new documentary Fighting for Life: The Story of NOW v. Scheidler highlights how abortion groups first began using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against pro-lifers in the 1980s. The case came before the Supreme Court three times, turning into one of the longest-running federal cases in history. Victory for Scheidler ultimately solidified the right of pro-lifers to protest at abortion clinics.

But the 30-minute film doesn’t do its subject justice. It hits the main points while missing the vivid stories that could have enlivened it: pro-life activist Joseph Scheidler’s stories of days in front of abortion businesses with a megaphone, defense lawyer Thomas Brejcha’s memories of long hours arguing in court.

The documentary also fails to give a full picture of Scheidler and Brejcha’s antagonist, the National Organization for Women. The film shows C-SPAN footage of feminist attorney Fay Clayton but doesn’t address the violence she accused pro-lifers of perpetrating against abortion facility staff and patients. (Evidence later revealed that many of the accusations were false.)

Still, the film has its strengths. It includes interviews with Scheidler, Brejcha, and their wives, Ann and Debbie. The now-aged couples recall the sacrifices made to defend the unborn and pro-life activists. The recorded memories are a valuable heirloom of these longtime pro-lifers—especially of Scheidler, who died in January at age 93.


Leah Hickman

Leah is a reporter for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Hillsdale College graduate. Leah resides in Cleveland, Ohio.

@leahmhickman

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