Aurora City Council Meeting Filled With People Opposed to Abortion Center

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 30, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Aurora City Council Meeting Filled With People Opposed to Abortion Center Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 30,

Aurora, IL ( — The Aurora city council on Tuesday night saw more than 100 pro-life people pack the city hall to tell members of the council they don’t appreciate Planned Parenthood secretly building a monstrous abortion center in their community. They asked officials to prevent the abortion center from opening.

Pro-life residents want the city to complete its investigation into whether or not it followed the law in approving Planned Parenthood’s application, even though it didn’t use its name during the approval process.

Planned Parenthood got around public knowledge and opposition by calling the building the Gemini Health Center in all of its building plans and documents. The purpose of the center was only revealed recently.

More than 120 people had signed up to speak on the pro-life side while only two women arrived at the city council meeting to speak on Planned Parenthood’s behalf.

"You should be angry … by the fact that you’ve been duped," the Rev. Martin Heinz of Holy Angels Church told aldermen, according to the Daily Herald. "You’ve been lied to."

Aurora attorney Vince Tessitore gave aldermen copies of papers of past meeting minutes and building permits and said they constituted fraud.

As she has through what has become a national protest, Bonnie Grabenhofer, president of Illinois National Organization for Women, called the pro-life advocates "extremists" and said they were wasting taxpayer money by their complaints.

"Although I treasure the right to protest, I am angry that extremists, opposing the clinic because their ideology is not supported by the law, are wasting the city’s resources," she said.

Responding to the controversy Planned Parenthood has generated, the city has hired an outside law firm to review the approval process and make sure the city government followed the law in approving it.

Mayor Tom Weisner’s chief of staff, Bill Wiet, said Monday that the city obtained Chicago attorney Richard Martens to examine the development process for the abortion center. Aurora officials ultimately approved the building last November.

The city gave Planned Parenthood a 30-day temporary occupancy permit, which expires on September 17. The abortion center is expected to open the next day when it gets its permanent paperwork.

City officials hope to have Martens finish the review by then and determine whether the permanent permit is authorized, the newspaper reported.

"If the review indicates that our laws have been followed, the city will be obligated to issue a final occupancy permit for the facility opening on Sept. 18, 2007," Wiet said.

Eric Scheidler, who has been leading the local protests for the Pro-Life Action League, had planned to attend a city council meeting on Tuesday night. He said he was happy to see the city reviewing the process and hoped it would be a first step in stopping the permit.

"I don’t have the disadvantage of being a lawyer," he said. "I’m just a guy who thinks that if you lie to government officials, you ought to be held accountable."

His group has already sued the city over another matter — saying that its police prevented some of the free speech rights of pro-life protesters with strict restrictions on where they could gather outside the abortion business.