Planned Parenthood site in Appleton closes

Prayers answered, says Bishop Ricken

ALLOUEZ — Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is permanently closing its abortion facility in Appleton (town of Grand Chute). The facility had stopped performing abortions last fall, due to lack of personnel. Various news outlets noted that Planned Parenthood was unable to find an abortionist.

The closing of the Grand Chute site came due to costs to update security. Several news outlets quoted Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s chief operating officer Chris Williams as saying that security upgrades to the Appleton site would cost an estimated $300,000, twice the value of the site.

In 2014, “Appleton North Health Clinic” performed almost 600 abortions.

Bishop David Ricken leads a prayerful protest outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute Aug. 22. The protest was part of a national initiative to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortion services. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

Bishop David Ricken leads a prayerful protest outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute Aug. 22, 2015. Exactly one year later, Planned Parenthood announced the facility’s closure. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

“The closure of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute is a clear indication that God is hearing our prayers,” Bishop David Ricken told The Compass on Aug. 23.

He noted that the closure happened Aug. 22, the memorial of the Queenship of Mary, adding that this is “the title (Mary) gave when appearing in Champion,” where the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is located.

Bishop Ricken also pointed out how, exactly one year earlier, on Aug. 22, 2015, he, Fr. Walter Stumpf, Fr. Tom Farrell and people from area parishes had gathered at the Planned Parenthood site, located on N. Gillette Street, to pray. Specifically, the bishop said, they offered “a prayer to the Holy Innocents and asked all the innocent victims of abortion to join us in this prayer.”

“As bishop, I ‘collected,’ spiritually, all the prayers of the wonderful, faithful people who have prayed there for years and we all together spiritually threw them against that place. God is good! The Blessed Mother and the Holy Innocents have interceded beautifully!”

Celia McKee, Dignity of Human Life coordinator for the diocese, expressed gratitude that the clinic has been permanently closed and thanked all who have offered prayer and “a peaceful presence there for so many years.”

However, she warned against complacency “since there are still Planned Parenthood clinics operating within our diocese. We must continue supporting all the ministries that offer love to women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy, as well as pray for the conversion of hearts. Only the true conversion of hearts will change how our country upholds the dignity of human life at all stages.”

There are Planned Parenthood facilities in Green Bay, Oshkosh, Manitowoc and Appleton. Only their facilities in Madison and Milwaukee perform abortions.

Security at Planned Parenthood facilities increased after a gunman killed three people and wounded nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs in late 2015. The Grand Chute clinic was damaged by a homemade explosive in April 2012.

Scenes from prayer service at Appleton Planned Parenthood site on Aug. 22, 2015