Wednesday September 22, 2010

Rockford Police Chase Ultrasound Vehicle from Abortion Clinic

By Kathleen Gilbert

Updated 6:45pm EST

ROCKFORD, Illinois, September 22, 2010 ( – The Rockford pro-life community is up in arms after police chased away an ultrasound vehicle from the local abortion facility – even though pro-lifers say they worked for weeks with city police to ensure permission for the life-saving equipment to park near the incoming mothers seeking abortions.

Rockford pro-life veteran Kevin Rilott posted a video of Rockford police telling pro-lifers that the city legal department might issue a warrant against them if the motor home, owned by Image Clear Ultrasound, was not moved away from the Northern Illinois Women’s Center (NIWC). The video ends with a shot of abortion clinic owner Wayne Webster smiling as he chats with the officers inside a police car. has frequently reported on NIWC as the site of bizarre anti-Christian and racist signs and symbols, which plaster the windows of the building, as well as other abuses against pro-lifers.

Rilott says that city officials later told him and the ultrasound owners that the vehicle violated a statute against unlicensed charitable solicitation. But Rilott pointed to a city ordinance defining charitable solicitation as “conduct whereby a person solicits … any article representing monetary value, sells, or offers to sell, a product … that the proceeds from the solicitation or sale are for a charitable purpose.”

“As you can read for yourself, this shows beyond a doubt that the totally free ultrasounds that were being offered to poor women have nothing to do with someone soliciting business for profit,” wrote Rilott in a post on the Pro Life Corner blog. “Pro-lifers were offering a completely free service to help poor mothers and children.”

The pro-life legal group Thomas More Society, which has engaged an ongoing lawsuit against NIWC and the city of Rockford, said that the ultrasound issue would be added to their suit.

“It’s defined so as to cover soliciting for money, and there was certainly nothing of that here,” TMS attorney Thomas Brejcha told LSN.

Sergeant Andre Brass of the Rockford Police Department referred LSN to the city legal department for details on the dispute. He confirmed that Rilott had obtained the proper permits, but that apparently there were “some other things that came up with the vehicle and other ordinances that they might be in violation for, that they might need a special permit for.”

Rockford city attorney Kerry Partridge told LSN that the ultrasound owners “did not contact the Public Works, Community Development or Legal Departments regarding operation of a mobile ultrasound on city property,” and that the city police department would not have known of the “business regulations” pertaining to the vehicle.

“It is the opinion of the City of Rockford that the offer of mobile ultrasound services on the City streets, whether free of charge or for a fee, is a business in violation of the ordinance cited in the letter to the vehicle operator,” said Partridge in an email to LSN Wednesday afternoon. “This operation will generate pedestrian traffic, which could be unsafe on or about the City streets, particularly Broadway, which is a major arterial roadway in Rockford. The permitting process is designed to maximize the safety of motorists and pedestrians in this type of situation.”

Partridge said that a letter warning the vehicle owners of this issue “was to be hand-served on the unit operator on August 20, 2010.” An attorney with TLC Pregnancy Services, which owns the vehicle, said that no such letter was received before the September 8 incident.

Rilott reported that pro-lifers later stormed a city council meeting to protest the ultrasound decision, and that “the city of Rockford is being forced to reconsider the position.” The operators of the mobile ultrasound clinic, he said, are currently attempting to gain permission to come back to Rockford.

Rilott criticized the government of Rockford for prohibiting the ultrasound vehicle while allowing another group, the Total Health Awareness Team, to hand out free condoms and clean needles to illegal drug users.

“We have difficulty understanding why this service is promoted by our government, a government who claims to be against illegal drug usage and prostitution,” he wrote. “At the same time, the same government interferes with the pro-life citizens offer of free life saving help to mothers in need, that is free ultrasounds.”


Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey

425 East State Street

Rockford, IL 61104

(815) 987-5590 phone

[email protected]

City Council members contact information:

See related coverage:

Life Saved in Rockford because of Grotesque Display in Abortion Facility Window

Pro-Lifer Violently Assaulted Outside Abortion Clinic, Police Take Time After Repeat 911 Calls

Abortion Employee Runs into Pro-Lifer, Keeps Going at Bizarre Rockford Abortuary

Click here for more coverage of NIWC.

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