ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — With expectations that women from Wisconsin will come to Illinois to have an abortion, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v Wade, an abortion clinic is set to open in Rockford soon.
Abortion is now illegal in Wisconsin and surrounding states. Gov. JB Pritzker has declared Illinois is a pro-choice state, causing patients from neighboring states to come into Illinois for an abortion.
On Friday, the Rockford Family Initiative held a protest outside a former acupuncture facility, at 611 Auburn Street.
The building was purchased by Dr. Dennis Christensen and is expected to reopen as an abortion clinic as soon as next week.
Christensen says the clinic will initially begin by prescribing medication that can medically induce an abortion.
“More than 50% of abortions now are done using medication, not surgery,” he explained. “We will be equipped to provide surgical procedures. That’s not how we are going to start out. We will see what the need is.”
Christensen previously operated an abortion clinic at 1400 Broadway, which closed in 2012.
“I think the more accessible it is, the easier it is for the patients and, for the people in Wisconsin, [it’s] basically a necessity now,” he said Friday.
Kevin Rilott, president of the Rockford Family Initiative said of Christensen, “He is not a part of this community and based on his last abortion clinic, with the dangerous conditions and signs in the window that mocked God, he really doesn’t care anything about this community. He just wants to come here, make his money, and go back to Wisconsin.”
Angie Scordato stood outside the future clinic on Friday in protest. She said her son was born with Down syndrome and autism and said many of her physicians tried to convince her to abort him.
“They just kept pushing it. ‘You should abort him, you should abort him.’ I was appalled,” she recalled. “I was told he may not make it. I was like, ‘I don’t care. He’s got to be here. There is a reason for him. There is a reason for every child and they all need a chance.'”
Frances Rylatt and her daughter, Lisa, said they have lived in the neighborhood since 1999 and believe bringing the clinic here will not only hurt women but, in the long run, the community.
“We don’t want abortion in Rockford. We don’t want the darkness that it will bring to the city. We love this city and we don’t want it in our neighborhood,” she said.
Rilott said he and the other protesters want to let women know there are other options besides abortion.
“No matter the situation, we’re going to be here to offer love and support to mothers in need,” he said.
Scordato said she and the others will continue to protest against the clinic until it closes, much like Christensen’s Broadway clinic.
“My hope is that people realize how important a child’s life is and that we have enough people out here to make sure it doesn’t happen, before it even opens it closes,” she said.