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Anti-abortion group expands protests to fertilization clinic

by David Tonyan
April 05, 2012


Naperville City Council

David Tonyan/MEDILL

Supporters and opponents faced off at a Naperville city council meeting over a proposed in vitro fertilization clinic on Tuesday.

A major anti-abortion group has expanded its scope beyond abortion clinics to include protests against in vitro fertilization clinics.

The Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League tried to block approval of an in vitro fertilization clinic in Naperville on Tuesday. When the city council approved its construction in a 7-2 vote, the league’s Executive Director Eric Scheidler said his group would stage protests at the clinic.

“There is no moral difference between those children and the children being killed down the road at Planned Parenthood,” Scheidler said at the council meeting, “and justice is due to those children. If that justice is not done by this council today then you must know, that justice will be done through public protest at Dr. Morris’ facility.”

Dr. Randy Morris, an endocrinologist specializing in reproductive medicine, already has an office in Naperville, as well as offices on Chicago’s Near North Side and Plainfield. His proposed clinic would replace his Naperville office.

While protests against abortion facilities and Planned Parenthood clinics have become common, protests against fertilization clinics appear to be a new tactic. Dr. John Rinehart, who is a founding physician of the Reproductive Medicine Institute, which provides in vitro fertilization among its services, said in vitro fertilization clinics have not recently faced this kind of hostility.

“I don’t think they’re going to put that genie back in the bottle,” Rinehart said.

Opponents of the clinic in Naperville raised both moral objections and concerns about the building’s features, Councilman Bob Fieseler said. Morris said the objections originated from moral grounds rather than any problems with the building.

Council members said they had received a lot of phone calls, mail and emails on both sides of the issue. Opponents were prominent at the first meeting on the issue, while supporters of Morris attended the second meeting in large numbers.

“Nobody has said anything about the reasons we are at the city council” which was for zoning approval, Morris said.

Council members said they had received a lot of phone calls, mail and emails on both sides of the issue. Opponents were prominent at the first meeting on the issue, while supporters of Morris attended the second meeting in large numbers.

When asked by Councilwoman Judy Brodhead what the point of protesting would be, Scheidler compared the clinic to a facility in neighboring Aurora.

“To witness to the humanity of the children destroyed by in vitro fertilization,” Scheidler said. “Just as at Planned Parenthood in Aurora we stand in witness to the humanity of the children destroyed by abortion.”

The Pro-Life Action League protests at the Planned Parenthood Aurora Health Center on the third Saturday of every month.