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Breaking news–anti-abortion protestors preventing Planned Parenthood Clinic from Opening

Planned Parenthood has built one of it’s largest medical clinics to date in the the southwest Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois. This is a comprehensive health care facility. The next nearest Planned Parenthood clinic is a 70 mile round trip away.

Planned Parenthood isn’t just abortions, it’s birth-control, pre natal and post natal maternal care, it’s sexually transmitted disease care, it’s even primary “I have a cold with sniffles” health care. It’s also breast cancer screening and general gynecological care.

For the poor. And the uninsured.

I don’t know about Chicago, but on Long Island one of the biggest (and some years it is THE biggest) providers of medical care to those below the poverty line, is Planned Parenthood. This is flu shots and sick babies, mammograms and cervical cancer screening.

This is basic health care. For poor people.

But because the parameters of that health care include abortions—legal abortions—Planned Parenthood is, once again, the subject of demonstrations, protests and now discrimination by the government of Aurora caving in to the demands of angry protesters.

On August 16th, the City of Aurora gave PP a temporary permit to open. The permanent permit would come after some final inspections and paperwork. This is common. However, after the temporary permit was issued, protesters started complaining to City Hall, showing up at hearings and holding demonstrations in front of the clinic site. The city, without apparent legal justification, yanked the permit.

Tomorrow Planned Parenthood will be in federal court in Chicago asking for a Temporary Restraining Order to stop the City from withdrawing the permit. Later today, they are launching a blogsite where they will be liveblogging tomorrow’s hearing in federal court.

Everybody is following the FDL model for covering federal court cases I guess.

The City of Aurora is claiming that it was somehow “misled” about the nature of the services that would be provided when it issued the permit.

Please let me call bullshit on this. As long as the services are legal medical procedures and as long as the facility conforms to the relevant zoning (i.e. is in an area zoned for medical facilities), the NATURE of the medical services to be provided are not a valid exercise of land use power. There is so much case law on this issue, it could choke a horse.

Let me give you an illustrative example, the city can permit or deny the right to operate a restaurant in a given zone, but if the zoning permits restaurants, it cannot dictate the menu. I cannot discriminate in favor of hamburger joints and against pizza joints or tofu joints.

As PP points out:

As to claims by Planned Parenthood opponents that the organization “misled” the city about the type of medical facility it would operate, today’s filing argues that those accusations are factually and legally wrong — and irrelevant.

“The City of Aurora’s fig leaf argument that it was ‘misled’ about the nature of the services that Planned Parenthood intends to provide at its facility is neither factually nor legally persuasive,” PP/CA says.

As a factual matter, the complaint[filed by PP in fedral court] notes that Planned Parenthood had publicly announced its intention to operate a medical facility providing a full range of reproductive services — including birth control, family planning counseling and abortions — in a front-page Chicago Tribune story in late July, well before the city issued the temporary occupancy permit on August 16.

“Only when protesters began appearing at the Planned Parenthood facility in late August and testifying at public hearings before the City of Aurora, did the status of Planned Parenthood’s facility change,” PP/CA argues.

if you live in the Chicago area and want to get a lawn sign or help out in some other way you can check this website. There are also links there for other ways you can help. I cannot believe that in this day and age, they still have to build women’s health clinics with bullet proof drywall. I cannot believe that in an age of health care crisis, with millions of people uninsured, anybody would block the opening of a brand new free/low cost health care facility.

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