by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The sudden closure of an abortion clinic here on July 26 was unexpected, but there might have been a hint.
One year ago, Aid for Women at 720 Central Ave. (operated by Central Family Medical, LLC) did something to its sign.
“One thing that was curious is that a year ago, they took the word ‘abortion’ off the sign in front of their building,” said Ron Kelsey, archdiocesan pro-life consultant. “I thought, ‘Is that a preview of things to come? What does it mean?’”
Maybe the sign change had nothing at all to do with the closure, but pro-life leaders welcome the development anyway. Ronald Yeomans, the abortion provider at Aid for Women, has retired.
With the closure of Aid for Women, there are now three abortion clinics in the state. They are the Planned Parenthood at 4401 W. 109th in Overland Park; the Center for Women’s Health at 4840 College Blvd., operated by the father-daughter team of Herbert Hodes and Tracy Nauser; and the Southwind Women’s Center in Wichita, which operates in the former George Tiller clinic.
Why did the clinic close? Kelsey named several factors.
“We felt the abortion clinic was operating on limited time,” said Kelsey. “There were Kansas clinic regulations tied up in the courts, and it was expected that Aid for Women could not meet them.”
“Also, the fact that Ronald Yeoman is in his 70s,” he continued, “and it is difficult these days to find abortionists. That’s why it’s common practice to fly abortionists into abortion clinics in local communities.”
The clinic was the focus of a lot of pro-life activity over the years. This included sidewalk counseling and people praying near the clinic. For nine years, the archdiocese sponsored a monthly pro-life Mass at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church (four blocks away) and a rosary procession to the clinic afterward.
“I think this demonstrates the power of prayer — and the rosary in particular,” said Kelsey. “It’s quite curious that over the past year or more, the clinic chose to close on every third Saturday when the monthly pro-life Mass and rosary occurred. The rosary only took 20 minutes.”
Kelsey also attributed the closure to a decline in the number of clients. Increasingly, young people are becoming more pro-life.
“Also, Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic, and pregnancy clinics in general that offer women support and help to choose life, played an important role,” said Kelsey.
Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic helped an Aid for Women clinic worker, who approached the pro-life entity for help in quitting the clinic.
Now that Aid for Women is closed, the focus of archdiocesan pro-life prayer efforts will probably shift south to the two clinics in Johnson County, said Kelsey.
“My plan is to keep the third Saturday pro-life Mass at one of the nearby parishes,” said Kelsey.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann will celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving for the abortion clinic’s closure at a time to be announced later.