Central Women’s Services clinic

The pro-life Operation Rescue shut down an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kan., by purchasing the building that housed it and turning the facility into new headquarters and a “memorial to the pre-born.”

The move began when Operation Rescue learned in late April that Central Women’s Services was months behind on its rental payments and that the property was for sale.

The pro-life group quickly made an offer on the building through a third party, stipulating in the contract that the current tenant not be retained.

Later, Operation Rescue learned Central Women’s Services had come up with the back rent after the building had entered escrow and had asked to continue the rental agreement under the new owner.

Under the new contract, however, the abortion clinic was forced to close.

“We have no doubt that if we had not moved quickly to buy that building, this abortion mill would still be in operation today,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

The clinic had operated under a variety of names since opening in 1983, aborting an estimated 50,000 babies. It drew attention in 1991, when a demonstration there led by Operation Rescue resulted in the arrests of 80 pastors.

Operation Rescue relocated its offices from Southern California to Wichita in 2002 and launched an effort to expose the abortion industry in Kansas. The group says its efforts have resulted in a 16 percent drop in abortions in the state.

Operation Rescue believes the decrease in abortions contributed to Central Women’s Services financial difficulties.

“Any company that loses 16 percent of their business is going to be hurting,” said Newman.

The group previously bought an empty lot next to the clinic where it placed a large billboard warning women of the dangers of abortion. Since the clinic’s closure, the lot has been donated to a crisis pregnancy center called A Better Choice.

“God accomplishes his work through the obedient lives of his people. We believe that God brought us to Wichita to stop abortion, and that closing this mill and reclaiming it for Christ was part of his plan for us,” said Newman. “We are humbled and thankful that he chose to use us in this way.”

Operation Rescue staff member Cheryl Sullenger had an opportunity to see the abortion clinic in May before it closed, during a yard sale of office supplies and equipment. She described it as dingy, cramped and dirty.

After the abortion business moved out, Sullenger got a closer look.

“There was mold, and general filth,” she said. “The carpets outside the abortion rooms were stained with blood, even though it was evident that some effort had been made to clean them. The ceiling nearby was broken. All of the walls were dirty and some were covered with cheap contact paper instead of being properly maintained.”

Newman, Sullenger and Jeff White, who helped Operation Rescue obtain the property, discovered a small closet between the clinic’s two “procedure” rooms. The closet had a sink surrounded by gallon bottles of bleach and drain cleaner.

Operation Rescue says aborted babies once were disposed of in this sink

“Under the sink was one of the biggest garbage disposals I have ever seen,” said Newman. “The entire area had the stench of death. It was the sink where the suction machine bottles were washed. In fact, dried blood could be seen that had seeped out from the metal band that surrounded the sink top. There was a bucket marked ‘biohazard’ next to the sink.

“We were all sickened by the thought of all those thousands of innocent children whose blood had been washed down that sink. It was an experience I will never forget.”

Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” of Roe v. Wade who once ran abortion clinics but now is a pro-life activist, confirmed it once was common practice to put aborted baby remains down such disposals.

“Oh, yes!” she told Newman in a phone call. “And you can’t pour enough bleach down that drain to get rid of the smell.”

Operation Rescue said it has no doubt Central Women’s Services once disposed of the babies this way. More recently, as the group discovered last year, the clinic packaged and delivered the remains by courier to Engineered Recovery Systems in Newton, Kan., where they were “processed” and dumped in a landfill near Kansas City.

Sullenger said that after she walked through the clinic with the realtor in May, she was approached by a woman seeking an abortion. Sullenger gave the young woman a tour of the clinic, which, along with a discussion of the “blessings of children,” persuaded her to change her mind.

Operation Rescue’s plans for the building include a “memorial to the pre-born” and a chapel along with the group’s corporate offices.

“We want this building to be a testament to the redemptive power of Jesus Christ,” Newman said. “If Jesus can redeem a building, he can redeem lives and heal hurting hearts.”

The group says it now plans to focus attention on exposing the work of abortion-provider George Tiller and his Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita.

Tiller is under investigation by a grand jury in the third-trimester abortion death of 19-year-old Christin Gilbert.

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