Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
From the grotesque and offensive window displays including rubber chickens hanging from a crucifix, a nun in a coffin, and a Jesus statue making an offensive gesture, to the blasting radio attempting to drown out pro-lifers, to the clinic’s owner brandishing a chainsaw the abortion clinic in Rockford Illinois is rightly one of the most infamous clinics in the country.
Now, in what has to be one of the clearest “the world is upside down” stories, police in Rockford, Ill., threatened to arrest the drivers of an ultrasound truck outside of an abortion clinic for offering free ultrasounds.
This was especially surprising (if anything can be surprising in Rockford at this point) because Kevin Rilott of the Rockford Pro-Life Initiative, said that pro-lifers had been working for months with police to bring the ultrasound truck to Rockford. “We spent a month dotting our I’s and crossing our t’s,” he said.
Here’s video of the incident:
Rilott called it “a harassment technique” designed to dispirit the prayerful protesters as well as keeping women from seeing an ultrasound of the baby in their womb.
Shortly after the incident, Rilott vowed to fight the city’s decision. “This is a double standard that is not tolerable,” he said. “We’re gonna do what we can to make this public.”
And it was then that Tom Brejcha of the Thomas More Society got involved. Brejcha has been fighting for the rights of pro-lifers for years in Rockford but said this incident even surprised him.
Brejcha explained that the city threatened to arrest the drivers of the truck on the grounds that it was “soliciting” in the street. But Brejcha called that “ridiculous.”
The ordinance entitled “ARTICLE III. CHARITABLE SOLICITATIONS - Sec. 24-48. states: “Charitable solicitation means conduct whereby a person solicits property, financial aid, gifts in money, donations, contributions, any article representing monetary value, sells, or offers to sell, a product, article, tag, service, publication, ticket, advertisement, or subscription on the plea or representation, whether expressed or implied, that the proceeds from the solicitation or sale are for a charitable purpose… ”
But Brejcha points out why the ordinance had no relevance to the ultrasound truck: “They were offering a free ultrasound with no strings attached…The ordinance forbids solicitation of something of value, this is something for free. It’s giving something away,” Brejcha said, “I was astonished that the city of Rockford would take this position.”
Brejcha was scheduled to meet with the city on this issue among others on Friday. And then on Saturday it was announced by Pro-Life Corner, the website of the pro-life movement in Rockford, “The operators of the mobile ultrasound unit along with their lawyers are in the process of gaining permission to come back to Rockford. We hope and fully expect to see them here in the next few weeks.”
It seems like a victory for pro-lifers but they fully expect more shenanigans from the city as well as the clinic. And Rilott said they’ll fight it with everything in their power through legal means, through the media, but mostly through prayer. Rilott said that praying in front of the clinic causes the clinic officials to act outlandishly, especially, he said, prayers from priests. “When they see priests quietly praying, the owner comes out with the chainsaw, put out signs,” he said. “They know what works.”
And he says the prayers are already working. Rilott said that twelve to fifteen years ago the clinic in Rockford performed about 150 abortions a week but that number is down to about 20 abortions per week. We’ll continue to keep you updated.