Second lawsuit filed over zoning for abortion clinic in Rockford

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 10:22 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The City of Rockford has another lawsuit on it’s hands over the zoning for the abortion clinic on Auburn Street.

The suit comes a little more than a month after the Rockford Zoning Board affirmed an officer’s decision to allow the clinic to run under a special use permit, following a challenge by members of the Rockford Family Initiative.

“When you open an abortion clinic in the middle of a residential neighborhood, you’re going to have trouble,” said Thomas More Society Executive Director & Head of Litigation Peter Breen.

As head of litigation for the Thomas More Society, a nonprofit which represents clients against abortion across the nation, Peter Breen brings what he sees as trouble in the streets, to trial in the court of law. “Just within the last few weeks of the operation this facility in Rockford, it is going to cause a lot of harm,” said Breen.

Despite the first attempt to appeal the zoning for Rockford’s abortion clinic on Auburn St. falling short, Breen takes on another lawsuit. This time, filed against the City of Rockford, it’s Zoning Board, the site’s owner Dr. Dennis Christensen, and his foundation RFD Family Planning.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Christensen. “It’s more of the same old thing.”

Residents in the suit allege the opening and operation of the clinic under a special use permit violates several ordinances and causes detriment to the surrounding neighborhood, pointing to protests outside the clinic.

“The folks in that neighborhood do not deserve to have a high volume chemical abortion clinic move in next door,” said Breen.

“For the disturbances outside the clinic, they are the ones causing the disturbances,” said Christensen. “They’re grasping in straws, that really have nothing to do with the underlying issue.”

While Christensen believes the underlying issue lies with neighbors’ own beliefs, Breen claims the city did not look at the impact it would have on nearby residents.

“The elected officials of the city have let this occur,” said Breen.

“If the people want to continue to have the service available, tell them its none of their business,” said Christensen. “Stay out of my business, and I’ll stay out of yours.”

We reached out to the city for comment on the lawsuit, it says it has not been served the complaint and has no comment at this time.