There have been some interesting developments over the past few months in the ongoing saga of a notorious Chicago area abortion clinic.
The Pro-Life Action League reported earlier this year that the Women’s Aid Clinic abortion facility was inspected in 2011 by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for the first time in 15 years.
Following the inspection, Women’s Aid — located in the northern Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood — was assessed a fine of $36,000 for “violations including the clinic’s failure to perform CPR on a patient who died after a procedure” in 2009, according to an AP article published January 21.
That article reported that Women’s Aid co-owner Larisa Rozansky “told the AP her clinic was safe and she felt victimized by the surprise inspection,” which Rozansky called “unfair.”
Horrific Conditions Force State to Take Action
Following last year’s inspection — in which IDPH inspectors also discovered such violations as dusty equipment, lack of a supervising registered nurse, and “frozen TV dinners stored in a biohazard lab refrigerator that also held placental or fetal tissue,” the state issued an order on October 21, 2011 indefinitely suspending the license of Women’s Aid to operate as a pregnancy termination specialty center (PTSC), and prohibiting the facility from performing surgical abortions.
How bad were things at Women’s Aid? Really bad.
According to the IDPH:
The condition of the facility has deteriorated to a point where “the public interest, health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires” that the facility’s license be suspended on an emergency basis. (210 ILCS 5/10f(c)).
The full report from the IDPH’s September 7, 2011 inspection of Women’s Aid Clinic is posted here [PDF].
Women’s Aid could have contested their license suspension, but elected not to. On the contrary, Larisa Rozansky sent a letter [PDF] to IDPH attorney Eva Byerley on November 5 indicating that Women’s Aid would be closing on November 10.
Except Women’s Aid did not, in fact, close on November 10.
Then there is the matter of the $36,000 fine, which Women’s Aid was still required to pay. But even now, nearly ten months after the fine was assessed on October 21, 2011, Women’s Aid Clinic still hasn’t paid it.
Here’s where the story gets interesting.
State to Women’s Aid: Pay Your $36,000 Fine
On March 7, the IDPH’s William Bell took action, sending Women’s Aid a letter [PDF] via certified mail reminding the abortion facility that paying the $36,000 fine wasn’t optional. Bell also told Women’s Aid that if the facility did not pay the fine within 10 days of receiving the letter, the matter would be turned over to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office for collection proceedings.
Rozansky responded by sending a letter [PDF] to Bell on March 13 that must be seen to be believed:
Women’s Aid Clinic? What Women’s Aid Clinic?
The audacity of Rozansky’s letter is breathtaking. Women’s Aid Clinic no longer exists, and “the new company” — whatever that means — “has been formed and temporarily occupies this location”?
If they expected anyone to believe that, you’d think that they would, at the very least, change their name. But they didn’t bother doing that.
As previously reported, on Sunday, April 1, when I knew they would be closed, I called the number listed on the Women’s Aid Clinic website to listen to their voicemail greeting. The voicemail greeting told callers that the number belonged to — wait for it — the “Women’s Aid Clinic.”
The next morning, Monday, April 2, I received a call on the phone I used to call Women’s Aid Clinic the previous day. The employee who called left a voicemail identifying herself as being from none other than the “Women’s Aid Clinic,” and said that the facility had received a call from this number the previous day, and invited me to call back.
On Tuesday, April 3, I went to the office building at 4751 W. Touhy Avenue in Lincolnwood that housed the Women’s Aid Clinic, along with several other offices.
From the public sidewalk outside the building I took a picture of a sign inside the building that clearly advertised the “Women’s Aid Clinic” (see picture above, left)
I also took a picture (see left) from inside the public lobby of the building that directs clients to the Women’s Aid Clinic office. As you can see, the sign clearly says, “Women’s Aid Clinic.”
And so, contrary to co-owner Larisa Rozansky’s claims, as of April 3, 2012, the Women’s Aid Clinic was still very much in existence, advertising itself and doing business as such, and in possession of assets.
Later that week I spoke with William Bell at the IDPH and explained to him what I set forth above. Per his request, I put it in writing and asked him to forward it to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and urge their office to begin proceedings to collect the $36,000 fine that Women’s Aid Clinic was required to pay to the IDPH.
He assured me he would, and in subsequent conversations, he confirmed that the matter had, in fact, been turned over to the AG’s office.
Women’s Aid Clinic Is Now Women’s Aid Center
I recently checked the Women’s Aid website and found out that they’ve changed their name. Women’s Aid Clinic is now Women’s Aid Center (this apparently is “the new company” that Rozansky referred to in her audacious letter to the IDPH.
Women’s Aid Clinic-now-it’s-Women’s Aid Center has also moved from Lincolnwood to Chicago.
You’ll notice that the Women’s Aid website — formerly http://womensaidclinic.com — now redirects to http://womensaidcenter.com. You’ll also notice that but for the name change and address change, little else is changed. (See a screenshot of the old website here.)
Last week I made a series of phone calls — first to the Illinois Attorney General’s office in Springfield, then to the IDPH’s office in Springfield, then to the AG’s office in Chicago — and received confirmation that the AG’s office is very much pursuing this matter, and is preparing to file suit in the near future against Women’s Aid Clinic/Center to collect the $36,000 fine.
Needless to say, there will be more to this story. Watch this space for developments.