GREEN BAY - Anti-abortion activists applaud the decision of a Green Bay clinic to stop providing abortion services effective next Thursday.
Those against abortion held a peaceful prayer vigil Saturday morning outside a clinic where abortion services are available.
The pickets have taken place there for literally three decades, every Saturday.
But this Saturday turned out to be different. This time was the last time. They say their prayers have finally been answered.
Battling abortion with prayer can take time. No one knows that better than Dianne Ellis. She has been among those praying on the picket line every Saturday for 33 years in front of the Medical Arts Building where OB/GYN Associates takes up space in Green Bay. Ellis is part of the group Shield of Roses. The group's goal: to bring an end to abortions.
"We've had a good group of faithful people who could come when they could make it. And we've all gotten older, a little bit harder for some of us to walk those two hours, but God bless them somebody was always there," said anti-abortion activist Dianne Ellis.
The peaceful pickets began here in 1978, and have taken place every Saturday since. They are here to be seen, they don't approach people heading into the building. Their hope is their prayers are being heard.
As it turns out, this is the final prayer vigil for Ellis and the others. FOX 11 News uncovered court documents detailing how OB/GYN Associates has been sold to Bellin Health System, and Bellin plans to end the abortion services when it takes ownership August 1. Neither Bellin nor OB/GYN Associates would confirm the sale. Bellin officials indicate they will answer our questions this coming Thursday, August 1.
"When we started, we never thought it would go on as long as it has. Now it's hard for me to be here because I never thought I'd see the day. We're very pleased, yes," Ellis said.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin says Bellin is taking the power out of the patient's hands.
"That's exactly what it's doing. I think most of us can agree when it comes to healthcare decisions it should be left up to a patient under the advice of his or her doctor and their family," said Nicole Safar, Planned Parenthood.
Those fighting abortion here applaud Bellin's decision. But the commitment to help those in need doesn't end.
"I also hope that we have a clear message though that there's a lot of young gals that could get themselves in trouble, and that the church steps up and is really there for them in those situations," said anti-abortion activist Pat Boyer.
For Ellis, she says her group's visible protest has come to an end, but the prayers won't stop.
"No we'll pray somewhere else or for something else but always pray. Yes," said Ellis.
Members of another group opposing abortion, called "40 Days for Life," also took part in Saturday's picket.
Their members joined forces with the Shield of Roses back in 2006.
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