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A clinic that has been providing abortions in Rockford, Illinois for nearly 40 years is closing permanently. Abortionists of the Northern Illinois Women’s Center say they have decided to voluntarily shut their doors for good after being closed since September because of health and safety violations. The Center has been open since 1974.
“The closure of the notorious Northern Illinois Women’s Center in Rockford is a great victory for public health and women’s safety,” said Eric Scheidler of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League. “The entire state should thank the pro-life community for calling attention to the deplorable conditions at this abortion facility and demanding that authorities step in and enforce the law.”
Melaney Arnold of the Illinois Department of Public Health told the Associated Press the agency hasn’t been officially notified by the clinic’s owners. On September 30, the Department ordered an emergency suspension of the clinic’s license and fined them $15,000. The state awarded the clinic the right to reopen Jan. 4.
The clinic then faced two options — either pay a $9,750 fine and reopen or give up the clinic’s license and pay a reduced fine of $1,000 if they agreed to close permanently.
Those close to the matter cite reasons behind the “voluntary” closure as “based on lack of support from the community, the political climate surrounding the abortion issue and the challenge the clinic would face in rebuilding staff.”
“It’s shocking that it had to get this bad for the state to step in. If other clinics it the state are half or even a quarter as bad as Rockford, they too need to be closed down,” said Scheidler.
Moreover, reports find state law exempts nine other abortion clinics from ever being inspected. The conditions at these nine facilities remain unknown.
“The Rockford facility was one of the most infamous in the country,” said Scheidler. “We’re not just talking about the broken sterilizing equipment or lack of nursing staff that caused state officials to act. This place was the site of such bizarre scenes as a crucified rubber chicken hanging in the window and clinic owner Wayne Webster prancing outside in a devil costume.”
Some 30 people attended a prayer gathering outside the clinic Jan. 17, including Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr.
“It’s not enough for officials to step up and enforce the weak laws we already have,” said Scheidler. “It’s time for the General Assembly to close the loopholes that keep public health officials from ensuring other abortuaries aren’t similarly violating the law.”