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Article updated: 5/23/2013 10:27 AM

TLC supporters blast Elgin city council

By Elena Ferrarin

Supporters of an Elgin faith-based, pro-life organization that provides free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests to women asked the city council to ease what they believe are unfair restrictions imposed on the organization.

Elgin is the only community that TLC Pregnancy Services has had problems with, out of the half-dozen communities where it has operated its mobile unit, TLC supporter John Juergensmeyer said.

In August 2012, Elgin police ordered TLC to cease operating the mobile unit after an amended city ordinance classified the vehicle as a "temporary land use" limited to four uses per year at each location.

TLC representatives say they have offered the services once a week for about two years in the parking lots of J.B.'s Pub and Evangelical Church of Elgin, with permission of the owners.

The organization filed a federal lawsuit against the city in March; shortly after, a federal judge issued an order allowing TLC to continue providing its services in Elgin through Aug. 21 while the lawsuit is pending.

TLC Executive Director Vivian Maly said she's heard criticism about providing services in a pub's parking lot. That location is close to two low-income housing complexes, which allows women who may not own cars to access the free services, Maly said.

Resident Lawrence Damhorst had harsh words for the city council. "Your fight is not with TLC, it's not with the people sitting here that support TLC," he said. "It's possibly a fight with God."

Councilwoman Anna Moeller defended the council's actions.

When Elgin changed its temporary use permits ordinance in June 2012, "no one in the city council contemplated it would have an adverse impact on your mobile unit," Moeller said.

Moeller also said there have been "fabrications and misstatements" about her position. She supports women's health as a Christian and mother of two girls, she added.

Moeller said she saw the mobile unit for the first time last August while it was parked in front of J.B.'s Pub. She called the police chief to inquire about it without knowing it was TLC's, she said.

That's when the city determined TLC's permit had expired and needed to be renewed under the new requirements.

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