Jill Boughton
Jill Boughton
Freelance Writer
September 7, 2019 // Diocese

St. John the Baptist parishioner takes a stand

Jill Boughton
Jill Boughton
Freelance Writer

When Rick Fodrocy’s grandparents were building a house on Lincolnway West, South Bend, where Rick and his wife, Michele, currently live, the founding pastor of nearby St. John the Baptist Parish invited them to join. The Fodrocys’ lives have been intertwined with St. John ever since.

“I grew up in a conservative, religious household,” Rick affirmed, and he’s stayed on that path. Because he works two jobs, though — nights at FedEx as well as at the small engine shop he owns — his schedule only permits helping out on special occasions such as the parish picnic. He does as much as he can.

When he attended Marian High School, Rick participated in pro-life rallies. But he wasn’t active in the pro-life movement as an adult, until Whole Women’s Health Alliance announced plans to open a chemical abortuary two doors down from his house. “I was furious!” 

He weighed in on the zoning controversy but received no response from Mayor Pete Buttigieg to his cordially phrased objections. The mayor also vetoed a South Bend City Council vote to allow the Women’s Care Center to open a location next door to the Whole Women’s Health Alliance office, so the Women’s Care Center established a new presence across the street.

After being denied a license by the Indiana State Board of Health because it wasn’t “reputable,” Whole Women’s Health Alliance appealed to the state and then to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit. It opened in June and is currently operating on a provisional license.

After speaking with St. John the Baptist pastor Father Glenn Kohrman, Rick put a protest sign on his lawn. The sign offers information about abortion pill reversal, instead of directly attacking the sin and violence of abortion.

Soon after he erected the sign, the Fodrocys received a “cease and desist” letter from the City of South Bend Board of Zoning, threatening to fine him for a code violation. His work schedule didn’t allow him to contest the letter or apply for a permit for the sign, so on the last possible date, he took the sign down — and put up two smaller signs with the same information for anyone who regrets taking the first abortion pill. So far, he has received no objection to those signs.

Rick said he has no regrets about taking a stand. “Being Catholic, you can’t pick and choose what (life issues) to support. Religion isn’t about convenience.”

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