FLOSSMOOR – At the site of Illinois' newest Planned Parenthood Clinic in south suburban Flossmoor Illinois, prolifers gathered Saturday evening for a candlelight vigil concluding the movement's annual 40 Days for Life prayer emphasis.
From March 6th to April 14th, prolifers took turns praying outside five Illinois abortion clinics – in Champaign, Downers Grove, Flossmoor, Skokie, and Springfield.
At the Flossmoor Planned Parenthood Clinics on Vollmer Road, nearly 100 residents heard from effort organizers and local pastors concerning their efforts to close the clinic. Dr. Rich Mantoan, a dentist whose office complex neighbors with the Planned Parenthood, spoke about the 40 Days for Life effort.
During the 40 day emphasis, Mantoan and the group hosted a presentation of "Unplanned," a new film exposing the abortion industry's business practices from the perspective of a former Planned Parenthood director. Many of those meeting for Saturday's candlelight ceremony indicated they had seen the movie and were moved to join the public display of concern about what is happening inside Planned Parenthood clinics.
Palos Heights resident Karen Hayes shared how during the 40 day emphasis, she spoke with an African-American woman that had pulled into the abortion clinic's parking lot, only to leave and choose to keep her baby. The "baby's daddy" was driving the car, and when they stopped to talk with Hayes, both appeared relieved after choosing to keep their baby.
"It was life-changing to be there when it happened," Hayes said. "You really understand how important it is for those young women considering abortion to see people out here concerned for them and their babies."
Chris Cortez, another local resident, shared how donors had stepped forward to fund the Aid for Women pregnancy care center that recently moved into an office adjoining the Planned Parenthood property. Cortez is coordinating the center's activities offering expectant mothers information about their babies and alternatives to abortion.
Flossmoor, a town of less than 10,000 residents, has a racial makeup of 46.4% White, 47.8% African-American, 3.2% Hispanic and less of other races. Flossmoor's income per capita is 67% higher than the national average and the median household income – $110,000 annually - is 88% higher. But Flossmoor is surrounded by some of Illinois' poorest minority communities – to the north, Harvey, Markham, and Dixmoor. To the south of Flossmoor, Chicago Heights, Ford Heights and Matteson, also with large minority communities.
Other spiritual leaders from the immediate area – including Pastor Dave Gruthusen from Harvest Bible Church-Palos – encouraged the vigil attenders to continue their efforts. Activist John Ryan shared the importance of expressing opposition to legislation being considered by the state legislature that would expand Illinois already-liberal abortion laws.
After the service, attendees placed roses honoring the deaths of aborted babies along the Planned Parenthood property boundaries.
All photos by IllinoisReview.com