Abortion services clinic could open in Rockford

After a decade, the first Rockford clinic to offer abortion services could be up and running within a week.
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 4:59 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A doctor once connected to a now-closed abortion clinic in central Rockford plans to open a clinic at another site in the Forest City where it will prescribe abortion pills.

Dr. Dennis Christensen, an obstetrician and gynecologist, has performed abortions for nearly 50 years, his first procedure only five days after Roe v. Wade was established in 1973. Dr. Christensen also serves as the chief executive officer for Affiliated Medical Services in Milwaukee, one of four clinics in Wisconsin that provided abortion services before last week’s Supreme Court ruling which put abortion rights in the hands of each state.

When Dr. Christensen learned of the leaked overturn, he knew it was only a matter of time until his clinic in Milwaukee, would have to shut it’s doors.

“I find it, unbelievably irresponsible for the Supreme Court to interject their political aspirations into the health of my patients,” said Dr. Christensen. “People are going to get their abortions one way or the other, before it was legal they did it at the risk to their life and limbs.”

In a Facebook post about a week ago, Affiliated Medical Services alerted patients it would no longer offer abortion services, but that clinic staff was attempting to “reestablish a way to provide care for our patients via Illinois.”

Dr. Christensen confirmed to 23 News that on June 13, he purchased a building in the 600 block of Auburn Street for $75,000. He wants to turn the structure into a clinic that provides services, including prescribing medication for abortions. He says women are entitled to make safe decisions about their reproductive rights, and aims to distribute the abortion pills to both his patients in Wisconsin, and women in Northern Illinois. He hopes to have it operational by July 5.

The abortion medication stops the growth of pregnancies under ten weeks, and Christensen says nearly 50 percent of abortions are done this way.

“If you are opposed to abortion, don’t have one, and stay out of my business,” said Dr. Christensen.

“That’s an absurd argument, there are a lot of bad things if you don’t like rape don’t have one, if you don’t like slavery, don’t have one,” said Rockford Family Initative Communications Director Daniel Pribble. “If something is bad, something is evil, we should everything in our power to eliminate it.”

Pribble on the other hand, feels differently. He points to Illinois’ abortion laws, saying the state is an easy target for physicians like Christensen to pursue their abortion services. “Dr. Christensen knows that and that’s why he’s going to come to Illinois and that’s probably why other abortionists will come to Illinois,” said Pribble.

“We want abortion out of Illinois, we want abortion not to exist, abortion is an evil act,” said Pribble.

In the past, Dr. Christensen operated the Northern Illinois Women’s Center, which was the region’s only abortion clinic, in the 1400 block of Broadway. He took over the clinic in 2004 following the death of the center’s founder – Dr. Richard Ragsdale.

Christensen says he relinquished control several years later, and the facility closed in 2012 after facing multiple fines from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“Who is going to control the individuals fertility, I’d rather have it be a doctor than our elected political representatives, who are more interested in their political futures than the health of their constituents,” said Dr. Christensen.

The Life & Family Evangelization Office of the Rockford Diocese, issued a letter to its members – alerting them about Christensen’s plans. We reached out to the group, which refused to comment on the sale and future plans. In its letter, LIFE office urged members to being praying immediately to prevent the opening of this clinic.

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