History repeats itself: Chicago abortion clinic recently fined $50,000 has had legal troubles for more than 40 years

Chicago Tribune article from April 13, 1974 reports the closing of the Albany abortion clinic in Chicago 

Chicago Tribune article from April 13, 1974 reports the closing of the Albany abortion clinic in Chicago

Two articles have appeared recently on the Pro-Life Action League website highlighting the license revocation and $50,000 fine assessed to the notorious Albany Medical Surgical Center abortion facility in Chicago.

But looking through some old files in our office the other day, we found that this was not the first time the Albany facility has run afoul of the law.

Closed by the State 41 years ago

In March of 1974, abortion had been legal nationwide for just over a year, and at the time, our national director, Joe Scheidler (who would found the Pro-Life Action League six years later), was working for Illinois Right to Life, and led a series of pickets outside the Albany clinic. Leaving no stone unturned, Joe also called the city health department to find out if Albany had a valid license — but they had nothing on file.

On March 29, 1974, Joe met with Illinois Citizens Concerned for Life and two weeks later — on Good Friday — a member of ICCL entered Albany posing as an abortion-bound woman, accompanied by an agent of the Illinois Department of Registration and Education. An Albany employee offered to perform an abortion on the woman for $150. A Chicago Tribune article that ran the following day describes what happened next:

The agent, who had been posing as the investigator’s brother in law, told the Albany Clinic’s operators they could close or be taken into custody under a citizen’s arrest, John Galvin, chief investigator for the department, said. They chose to close, he said.

There are two important takeaways from this story. The first is that there is nothing new about abortion clinics showing utter contempt for the law. It happened then, and it’s been happening ever since.

Donate NowBut take note also of how swiftly authorities took action at that time once they learned that the Albany facility was operating outside the law. No second chances, no protracted appeals process. Just two options: close, or go to jail.

The powers that be at at Albany opted to close, but they later reopened at their present location a few miles away. And 41 years later, they’re in big trouble again — only now, the wheels of justice are turning much more slowly. The Illinois Department of Public Health revoked Albany‚Äôs ambulatory surgical treatment center (ASTC) license on March 10, but the revocation has been stayed pending the outcome of a hearing that has yet to be scheduled.

Watch this space for developments.

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