Abortion Business to Stay Closed in Illinois Until January

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 29, 2011   |   12:52PM   |   Rockford, IL

The abortion business in Rockford, Illinois will remain closed until at least January as the Northern Illinois Women’s Center and the Illinois Department of Public Health continue to wrangle over violations it engaged in that caused its closing.

The Northern Illinois Women’s Center in Rockford had its license suspended by the Illinois Department of Health after failing an inspection following up on previous violations state officials found in June. The state told the abortion business it needed a plan of correction and, despite the plan, the corrections had not been sufficiently made and health inspectors still found numerous violations.

Illinois Department of Public Health officials gave the abortion center a three-page report of deficiencies on September 29 signed by Damon T. Arnold, the director of the state department. The notice says officials “found conditions at (the Northern Illinois Women’s Center) that are directly threatening to the public interest, health, safety and welfare requiring immediate, emergency action.”

Eva Byerley, an attorney for the department, told Administrative Law Judge Cynthia Ramirez that she and Harold Hirshman, the attorney for the abortion facility, “have made progress but have not yet agreed on terms” of the settlement. The two planned a conference regarding the settlement for November 28.

The abortion facility will remain closed until January 4, when the Rockford Register Star reports that the Northern Illinois Women’s Center will face a hearing before Judge Ramirez. The resolution of the dispute could range from “revocation of the clinic’s license to allowing the clinic to reopen,” the newspaper says.

The state health department report found the Northern Illinois Women’s Center abortion business violated the stipulations of the Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center Licensing Requirements Code and Illinois Administrative Procedure Act, which makes abortion centers abide by the same rules and regulations that apply to legitimate medical centers doing outpatient surgeries.

Some of the violations, according to the newspaper, include not having a registered nurse on hand during abortions, not having a registered nurse supervising other abortion facility staff, not having two physicians with admitting privileges at a local hospital to admit patients when abortions are botched and women need immediate medical treatment, and not having a valid written agreement with a laboratory for lab work.

The abortion center can appeal the decision within 10 days and must file a written response to the state health department within 20 days. The suspension of the abortion facility’s license took effect immediately upon the state health department’s order.

The Northern Illinois Women’s Center is the abortion clinic that, last year, threatened pro-life advocates.

“Sidewalk counselors tell us the facility owner, friends and staffers consistently display extreme perversion and hateful bigotry toward anyone opposing their efforts. In Rockford, it seems they’ve seen it all: eggs thrown at cars, racial slurs, vehicular assault, rubber chickens hanging from nooses in the windows, a nun mannequin placed in a coffin, insults hurled at praying priests, and, in short, an unending stream of mockery and hate directed toward pro-lifers,” Brad Mattes wrote in an article for LifeNews. “Perhaps most shocking was when owner Wayne Webster charged outside with a running chainsaw this summer. Or the sign depicting Jesus Christ raising his middle finger with the words “Even Jesus Hates You” written below. These are just a few examples of what’s been going on there. Truly, it’s difficult to rate which among them is most offensive.”

Mattes continued:  “On Friday, yet another police report was filed outside the facility. According to witnesses, a man escorting a woman into the clinic “pulled his hand out of his pocket in the shape of a handgun and looked directly at the pro-lifers and said, ‘What would you do if I pulled out my .45 and put a bullet in your head?’” Shortly after, Webster came out and taunted one of the pro-lifers saying, “Maybe he should have shot you.”

The license suspension also comes after the Chicago Tribune newspaper released the details of a new investigative report revealing the number of abortions in the state has been massively underreported. Those numbers include six women who have died from botched abortions and 4,000 who were injured.

Although state law on abortion that Illinois adopted in 1975 requires abortion centers to report numbers and complications to the Illinois Department of Public Health , the Tribune found the state system for tracking abortions is so broken that officials are likely missing as many as 7,000 abortions annually.

The Tribune also indicated that Illinois has no process other than the abortion statistics reporting to monitor whether abortion facilities or abortion practitioners have high rates of complications and may be killing or injuring women in abortions. Although Illinois currently tabulates abortions from 26 locations that do abortions in the state, Guttmacher lists 37 places as doing abortions in Illinois.

The newspaper also found that 4,000 women injured by botched abortions failed to have those injuries noted in detail in official reports.