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Abortion foes plan prayer march around Aurora clinic
By Amy Boerema | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/14/2007 6:29 PM

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Abortion opponents plan to have a massive protest march Saturday at Planned Parenthood in Aurora, with organizers likening the event to the Biblical Battle of Jericho.

The march is to begin at 9 a.m. at the clinic, at Oakhurst Drive and New York Street.

The event is the culmination of the protesters' own version of a seven-day Jericho March.

"Likewise, we are facing a fellow too great for us to conquer without a miraculous event," said Eric Scheidler, spokesman for Chicago's Pro-Life Action League.

In the Bible, the Lord instructed Joshua, who led the Israelites into Canaan, to march around the city once a day for seven days. The last day, they marched around the city seven times, with seven priests blowing trumpets and people letting out a battle cry. The walls of the city collapsed.

For the past six nights, hundreds of supporters have walked around the block where Planned Parenthood has built a clinic scheduled to open Tuesday. The opening may be delayed as the city makes a legal review of the permitting process.

Organizers say more than 1,000 residents could attend Saturday's march.

Seven groups plan to circle the block - from Oakhurst to McCoy Drive, to Eola Road, to New York and back to Oakhurst - seven times while singing and playing musical instruments.

A federal judge today denied city officials a temporary restraining order to limit the protest to business areas. A city ordinance prohibits picketing "upon or across the public way from, adjacent to or in front of the personal residence or dwelling of any person." It's a misdemeanor with a fine of between $50 and $500.

Likewise, march organizers today were denied a temporary restraining order against the city that sought to keep police from arresting participants who march in residential areas.

A press conference will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, featuring a diverse group of clergy members including some from the black and Hispanic communities. A petition has been signed by more than 120 churches that oppose abortion.

The prayer march is in response to clinic supporters who rallied Tuesday in front of city hall, Scheidler said.

"Planned Parenthood is throwing everything they've got at the city and us," he said. "We're going to fight them as hard as we can."

If you go

What: Pro-Life Action League's "Jericho March"

When: 9 a.m. Saturday

Where: Planned Parenthood, New York Street and Oakhurst Drive in Aurora