Just a few years ago, the landlord of Rockford’s infamous abortion mill walked outside the mill and began mocking the few Christians who were there, praying for life. He looked down the sidewalk in one direction and shook his head. Then he looked down the sidewalk in the other direction, began laughing and said, “Where are all your Christians? No one’s here. Nobody cares about abortion.”
In the past, the Rockford abortion mill was sometimes open three days a week and could do anywhere from 50-75 abortions a week!
Below are the testimonies of three Christians who have over 65 years of pro-life ministry among them:
After the abortionist, Richard Ragsdale, moved from near Rockford Memorial Hospital to the clinic’s present location on Broadway in 1985, the clinic was open three days a week, doing approximately 75 abortions each week.
The owner of the building, Wayne Webster, and the security guard, John Caskey, enjoyed themselves standing at the driveway every clinic morning, harassing and speaking obscenities to the sidewalk counselors and prayer supporters.
If a car did stop in the driveway to talk to a sidewalk counselor, they would holler and scream at the driver to “pull in, pull in.” Rarely did we get to give out literature or talk to a mother.
Rarely were there any “saves” or turnarounds.
It was 1985 when I first went to 10th & Broadway to hear Joe Scheidler, a long-time pro-life advocate from Chicago, give a speech.
I remember that he said, “If you want to save babies, you have to be here where the babies are dying and do all you can to reach those moms who are going in there.” It was after that that I decided that is where I wanted to direct my efforts. …
Richard Ragsdale was the doctor who killed the babies. The mill was open three days a week. It was not unusual to have 25-30 mothers going in on a Friday, and the other days it was usually anywhere from 10-17.
Wayne Webster, the owner of the building, had security guards who were not very nice people, and at one time he had a truck parked near the sidewalk filled with sewage that he threatened to spray on us.
He also spent a lot of time on the loudspeaker, making fun of some of the people who were praying, and he took pleasure in calling people names.
I grieve for the children who have died such a terrible death in that building and pray for their moms. If God is calling you to help the unborn, please come and experience the joy of seeing a girl leave and choose life. There is nothing else like it.
When I first started praying at this mill, there were so many mothers coming in for abortions, they sometimes had to park in the street because the parking lot was full.
I remember once when they killed over 40 babies in one day. Sadly, at times there were not very many Christians on the sidewalk praying or offering help to mothers.
So, what has changed from when 50-75 children were killed per week to now, when they kill 20-25 babies per week with more mothers than ever turning to pro-lifers for help?
How can we continue this trend of reducing the numbers of babies killed in Rockford and continue being God’s instruments in helping mothers and saving the lives of God’s precious infants?
Jesus said, "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons.” (Mark 16:16)
1. Love: Love involves a sacrifice of self and time. More Christians than ever are realizing this abortion nightmare will not end without the sacrifice of ourselves and our time, standing in love for countless hours on the sidewalks in front of this abortion mill that has murdered so many thousands of children. More and more Christians are public witnesses of life and love that mothers see as they drive into the mill parking lot. The very presence of Christians at this place of death results in mothers seeing and knowing that love and help are available to them—and many choose LIFE.
2. Prayer: Christians are praying at the mill, at home, at church, at school for the end of the killing of children at the Northern Illinois Women’s Center. The power of prayer is what those inside the mill hate the most and try to disrupt with loudspeakers and offensive signs in the mill windows meant to distract and disrupt the efforts of people at prayer. They have failed to stop the prayer, and the more they attack God, the more people are praying.
3. Courage: For years, the Northern Illinois Women’s Center has employed and engaged in a campaign of intimidation toward Christians that has finally backfired in its face. Because Christians have stood strong in the face of this bigotry and hatred, the vicious attacks of those who operated this mill are now being broadcast and documented on the internet and YouTube. Over 50 web sites have covered the bigotry and hatred of the Rockford abortion mill.
Because they have been held accountable in public, their attempts at intimidation have been reduced to a few noxious signs in the windows of the building at 1400 Broadway. The courage of pro-life women and men to deal with the vulgar profanity of these killers of children and mocking of Jesus Christ directed at them for years has been the courage and steadfastness of which saints are made.
4. Truth: Science has shown people the clear and indisputable truth that abortion kills a human person in his or her mother’s womb. Women who have been deeply hurt by abortion in Rockford have come forward to tell the truth of how abortion has harmed them and how they have been treated by the abortion industry. The truth is that more and more people are getting sick of the murder of babies in the womb that takes place in Rockford.
5. Jesus Christ:
O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are His judgments, and how unsearchable His ways! (Romans 11:33)
We don’t always understand how the will of God works, but we know for sure that any effort of Christian charity such as the pro-life movement, which is bathed in God’s grace and love, will bring life and hope to the world.
“All these I have kept,' the young man said. "What do I still lack?" (Matthew 19:20)
Much good has been done by Christians at Rockford’s abortion mill. Many children have been saved from abortion, but many are still being killed every week. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is good to know the pro-life prayer, ministry and work already done in faith and love have brought Christ and life to countless people in Rockford.
We will continue, each according to our position in life, to do all in our power to bring Jesus Christ to mothers and children in need in Rockford so we may one day say,
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7)
“James” is a 15-year veteran of the pro-life movement in Rockford, Illinois, witnessing outside the internationally notorious abortion business known as the Northwest Illinois Women’s Center. This commentary is reprinted with the kind permission of James and Pro-Life Corner, the web site of Stephenson County Right to Life, Inc., a nonprofit, nondenominational, volunteer pro-life organization in northwest Illinois.