Flossmoor Planned Parenthood spurs Ives' protest and formation of pro-life coalition
The Flossmoor Planned Parenthood avoided public scrutiny in its planning stages, but the clinic is getting its share of attention now -- with State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) recently holding a press conference at the clinic and the launching of a pro-life group in response to its opening in January.
Ives joined Pastor Ceasar LeFlore, who is the Midwest director of the Life Education and Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.), at the clinic on Feb. 22 to denounce Planned Parenthood for capitalizing on Illinois’ taxpayer-funded abortion law to victimize women and minorities.
The gubernatorial candidate opened the press conference by welcoming the crowd to “the brand new Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood sees Illinois as a profit center after Governor Rauner made taxpayers fund abortion.”
“I stand with you, I will always stand with you on this issue," Ives added. "Abortion hurts women."
She and LeFlore also targeted Gov. Bruce Rauner for signing HB 40, which expanded taxpayer-funded abortions through Medicaid and state employee insurance.
LeFlore said that Rauner’s signature on HB 40 opened the door for Planned Parenthood to target minority women.
“This is in walking distance for many in the black and brown communities,” LeFlore said referring to the clinic. “Abortion is not health care, Governor Rauner. You betrayed the faith community by signing HB 40.”
Also, in the wake of the clinic’s opening, a steering committee of 10 formed the Southland Coalition For Life.
Kris Cortes, one of the group's organizers, blasted the notion – which she says is perpetuated by Planned Parenthood -- that its medical centers are designed especially for women who have limited access to health care.
“It is a common misperception that communities need Planned Parenthood to provide poor women access to health services,” Cortes wrote in a letter published Feb. 23 by the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle. “Within 15 miles of Flossmoor, there are four federally qualified health care centers that provide the same services as Planned Parenthood Flossmoor, with the exception of abortion and LGBT services, plus truly more comprehensive health care for women. Among them are Aunt Martha’s Women’s Health Center in Chicago Heights, Community Health Center in Hazel Crest and Community Health Care in South Holland. I encourage readers to review both sites and draw their own conclusions."
Cortes said that the Southland Coalition has three goals: establish a comprehensive women’s health care center close to the Planned Parenthood clinic; educate the community on the full range of life-affirming options and the science of life; and organize a movement of prayer.
“We (she and husband Dennis) have lived in Flossmoor for 27 years and one of the main reasons is so our children could grow up in a community that is diverse in ethnicity, race and economic status,” she said. “We are thus deeply saddened that this economic diversity, combined with Illinois funding of abortion through Medicaid, has now brought abortion to Flossmoor and to our surrounding communities. It is especially disturbing that this will result in a disproportionate number of black children losing their lives as nationwide blacks make up 12 percent of our population and yet account for 36 percent of all abortions.”
The Flossmoor clinic is reportedly one of five Planned Parenthood is scheduled to open in Illinois following Rauner’s signature on HB 40. When finished with its expansion, Planned Parenthood will have 21 clinics operating in Illinois.
Pro-family leaders say that besides the minority communities Planned Parenthood will cash in on illegal immigrants throughout the Midwest and on out-of-state clients with the Indiana border just 15 minutes from Flossmoor.