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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Clinic services raise moral controversy

CHICAGO — A proposed fertility clinic in downtown Naperville is sparking criticism from residents who object on moral grounds to some of the services the facility would provide.

But city councilmen are split on whether they even would have the authority to block the plan when the city’s zoning codes allow for a medical facility at the site.

Dr. Randy Morris, a licensed physician specializing in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, wants to build the clinic, which would provide services such as fertility medications, insemination, in-vitro fertilization and surgical procedures such as unblocking fallopian tubes.

“We want to make it more convenient for our patients,” Morris said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “This is where they live, this is where they work, and this is where they should be treated.”

The state granted Morris a certificate of need for the facility last fall, but he now needs city approval for parts of the plan that deviate from the city’s zoning codes including parking. Naperville’s planning and zoning commission unanimously approved the plan last month, and the city’s planning staff also recommends approval.

However, 16 residents spoke out against the clinic. Most took issue with the services the clinic would provide, especially in such close proximity to churches and schools.

Several women suggested the clinic would target North Central College students for egg donation.

“By its very nature of buying and selling, IVF procedures are treating human embryos as a commodity or an industry where the women who donate their eggs are merely the suppliers,” North Central senior Mary Kizior said. “Knowingly or not, this is an industry that preys on the financial vulnerability of my female peers.”

Mary Beth and Mike Brummond told the council they have been struggling to conceive a child for more than two years, but don’t believe using in-vitro fertilization is morally acceptable because it takes away a child’s “dignity.”

Some citizens voiced concern about the possibility of embryos being selectively terminated. Morris’ attorney, Bernard Citron, said the state will not permit such procedures at the clinic.

Citron said he regretted not bringing to the meeting some of the hundreds of families who he said have been helped by fertility procedures, but he said the focus should be on zoning.

“We don’t have to do a show of hands … or a tugging at the heart strings here because this isn’t a moral and ethical issue. … This is a land-use issue,” he said.

Councilman Bob Fieseler said he not only has moral concerns but doesn’t want to draw protests to the gateway to downtown.
Councilman Grant Wehrli said he “can’t set policy based on emotion.”

“There are only a certain number of things we can legally base a decision on here …,” Wehrli said.

However, he also said he wants more information about objections raised by the staff of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board before the board granted a certificate to Morris for the clinic.

The issue was tabled until April 3.

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