ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, ending federal abortion protections.
Since then, several states, including Wisconsin, have enacted abortion bans and restrictions.
Those restrictions have some women crossing over into Illinois for the procedure.
In Rockford, a new abortion clinic is set to open at a former acupuncture clinic at 611 Auburn Street. The clinic is owned by Milwaukee-based Dr. Dennis Christensen, who formerly operated an abortion clinic at 1400 Broadway, which closed in 2012.
No opening date has been announced.
Some residents say an abortion clinic shouldn’t be opening in a residential neighborhood.
“I know people who are pro-choice who aren’t happy about that building being there and being used for those purposes,” said neighbor Lisa Rylatt. “It’s going to be very disruptive to the neighborhood.”
Barbara Giolitto, president of Winnebago County Citizens for Choice, says the community needs the service.
“It’s all about health and I wish people would understand that, because, without safe legal abortion, women die. And, they will still continue to find out a way to get abortions when they are desperate,” Giolitto said.
Giolitto says volunteers have been preparing for opening day, and training for how to interact with protesters.
“We have been doing escort training. We have escorts who will wear an identifying vest so that the patients know who they are and will just walk them in,” she said.
Rylatt says she doesn’t want to shame the women who visit the clinic, but want to show them love so they know there are other options, besides abortion.
“We want to stand up for the unborn, that they deserve to live, but stand up for the women, too,” Rylatt said.
A pro-choice rally is planned for Saturday in downtown Rockford. On Monday, pro-life advocates also plan to protest outside the Auburn Street clinic.
In July, Christensen also said he bought the former Animal Emergency Clinic, at 4236 Maray Drive.