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Judge gives Elgin mobile pregnancy test unit more time

Updated: May 1, 2013 2:13PM

ELGIN — A federal judge has ruled that a pregnancy testing service can continue using two west-side parking lots for its mobile ultrasound vehicle for at least the next six months.

Federal Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan Wednesday extended until Aug. 21 a restraining order he issued March 13 allowing The Life Center, which operates as TLC Pregnancy Services, to set up in the parking lots at Evangelical Covenant Church of Elgin and JB’s Pub & Bar. Evangelical Covenant, at 1565 Larkin Ave, is next to Larkin High School; and JB’s, at 297 S. McLean Blvd., is four or five blocks away from Larkin.

TLC, which has a bricks-and-mortar location on Elgin’s east side, is a faith-based anti-abortion organization that had been offering some free services to pregnant women in the clearly marked mobile vehicle in the two lots at midday on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

A lawsuit filed in federal court earlier this month claimed that city zoning restrictions put in place by Elgin last summer restrict women from receiving what TLC offers. On March 13, Der-Yeghiayan issued an opinion that TLC was likely to succeed on the merits of its case.

The city council had amended its zoning regulations in June in a way that classified the mobile facility and a number of other mobile operations as a “temporary land use” and limited them to only four uses per year at any one location, by permit.

A press release issued on behalf of TLC early Thursday morning states, “Attorneys for TLC and Elgin had reached agreement for extension of the order while the parties considered further legal proceedings or a political solution.”

Later Thursday morning, Elgin City Manager Sean Stegall said he had no comment on the matter.

In the release, attorney Noel Sterett of the firm Mauck & Baker stated, “The TLC team is grateful to be back serving the young women of Elgin. We think Elgin has chosen the better path in not pushing to reinstate the barrier it has erected which has kept young women in the dark.”

Attorney John Mauck added in the release, “We hope the current administration is listening to its citizens and the many voices, including a number of current city council candidates, who have come out in support of TLC and its services to the young women of Elgin.”

At a city council candidates forum hosted by the Blackhawk Residents Association on March 16, the TLC issue led to candidates being asked their stance on abortion.

According to reports from several of those present, candidate Craig Dresang objected to the question and asked its relevance to the race, while his opponent for the two-year seat, Toby Shaw, said he felt it was important for voters to know in case anyone would decide to seek a higher office beyond councilman.

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