Abortion rights activists gather with doctor wanting to open Rockford clinic

Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 10:47 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Dozens of activists filled the crowd at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockford to stand for what they believe is their right.

23 News spoke with some of the crowd at that meeting, which includes Dr. Dennis Christensen, a Madison-based doctor whose bringing abortion services to the Stateline, and with anti-abortion activists about their thoughts regarding the clinic.

Dr. Christensen says, “I’m an outsider looking in as far as having an abortion goes.” Even though he is an outsider, he says that doesn’t stop him from fighting for the right to an abortion. That’s why the doctor turns his plans of opening a clinic on Auburn Street to provide abortion services to women in northern Illinois into two clinics in Rockford. This comes after he purchases a former animal hospital service clinic on Maray Drive.

Many abortion-rights activists believe the need is there. Those activists came out to thank Christensen for bringing what they believe is their right to choose to the city.

Christensen says, “The right to choose what to do with your own body, is a religious right.”

On the other hand, anti-abortion activists think quite the opposite. Rockford Family Initiative volunteer Katie Sartino spent years protesting outside Rockford’s only abortion clinic ten years ago. Katie says, “I felt sad for the women entering there and knowing the lack of dignity and respect.” She and other anti-abortion activists believe abortion is evil and should stay out of Rockford. They say they won’t stop until it’s forbidden.

“I manage it with people telling me it’s right and ‘we’re glad you’re here.’ Those outnumber the bad ones,” Christensen adds.

Anti-abortion activists are planning a protest outside the newly purchased site on Friday. The clinic’s opening may take a matter of months.

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