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Naperville City Council Approves Controversial Plan For Fertility Clinic

UPDATED 04/04/12 7:29 a.m.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) -- A doctor in Naperville has been given the green light to open a fertility clinic, despite objections from some neighbors on moral grounds.

As WBBM Newsradio's Bernie Tafoya reports, Dr. Randy Morris is planning for a clinic that will provide medications, insemination, in-vitro fertilization and surgical procedures at the northwest corner of Washington Street and Benton Avenue.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Bernie Tafoya reports


The site is now a vacant lot with a concrete slab and weeds. Morris has a smaller fertility clinic and Naperville and a larger one in the city of Chicago, but he wanted to consolidate in downtown Naperville.

At a Naperville City Council hearing Tuesday night, Morris characterized the positions of those who opposed his clinic as extreme. He pointed out that while the Roman Catholic Church has taught that conception through means other than sexual intercourse is sinful, and that embryos are fundamentally the same as babies who have been born, these teachings do not constitute facts on which to base policy.

"We can argue for eternity about when a sphere of divining cells becomes a human, but it is like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin," Morris said. "Just because you say you have one interpretation does not make it true. Ask Galileo."

He added that the issue before the City Council had only to do with zoning, but zoning had nothing to do with the reason some neighbors were trying to block the clinic from opening.

"Because one small and noisy group has a religious view that IVF is immoral and sinful, they take issue with the fact that this sinful place would be located several blocks away from churches, schools and children's museums," Morris said.

City Council members pointed out that the only issue on the table was, in fact, zoning, and approved the clinic on that basis.

Some City Council members previously expressed concern about the facility. City Councilman Bob Feesler said it was a "bad use" of the property.

Feesler said he was concerned about potential protests, similar to those at the Planned Parenthood facility in Aurora.

Some objectors had also expressed concern that students at nearby North Central College would be targeted to donate eggs.

But some council members stressed that the clinic would help families struggling to conceive a child.

Area resident Kendra walked by the vacant site early Wednesday.

"I think it's great. This corner has been ugly for a long time. It's time to get some business in there, and there are a lot of people who are going to benefit from having some other options in this area for treatment," she said.

There is a name change involved in Morris' practice. Instead of being called the Naperville Fertility Clinic, the new practice will be called the Naperville Family Building Center.

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