Naperville Zoning Matter Turns into Morality Debate

Naperville City Council ultimately approves plans for downtown fertility clinic

While it was technically a matter concerning zoning, a Tuesday evening debate in the Naperville City Council chambers quickly turned into a morality debate as citizens went back and forth about a fertility clinic proposed for a busy downtown intersection.

In the end, the council voted 7-2 to allow Dr. Randy Morris to open his clinic at Benton Avenue and Washington Street in the southwest suburb. Councilmen Paul Hinterlong and Bob Fieseler cast the dissenting votes.

Prior to the vote, Morris spoke in defense of the clinic he said would provide "needed legal surgical procedures," including in vitro fertilisation.

"Do not stop us from having the type of medical care that we want, to have a place in our own community that is convenient for us. Your religion is not better than ours," he said, reading from notes and letters.

Many in the audience wore blue T-shirts with "I support the Naperville Fertility Center" written on the back. Among them was Meghan Suman.

"I didn't intend to come out this early after she was born, but it was an important issue to us," Suman said, holding her 4-day-old daughter. "Dr. Morris had found out that my husband has a rare chromosome condition, and with his help we were able to conceive a baby that would live."

A smaller but vocal minority voiced opposition to the facility.

"We must also learn to sympathize with those we cannot see; the tiny human beings in their earliest days of life who are victimized by Dr. Morris," Pro-Life Action League's Eric Scheidler told the council. "If that justice is not done by this council today, then you must know that justice will be done through public protest at Dr. Morris' facility."

The state granted Morris a certificate of need for the facility last fall, but he needed city approval for parts of the plan that deviate from the city’s zoning codes including parking, signage and setback from the road, TribLocal Naperville explained last month.

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