by Steven Ertelt
November 28, 2007
Aurora, IL (LifeNews.com) — The city zoning board in Aurora has postponed a decision on an appeal from pro-life advocates that Planned Parenthood should have obtained a special permit before building its new abortion business. The dispute over the new abortion facility has become a national debate over how Planned Parenthood operates secretly.
Peter Breen, an attorney with the pro-life Thomas More Society law firm, requested a zoning hearing last month.
Pro-life advocates say Planned Parenthood did not receive proper approvals from the city on all aspects of the new abortion center, including the location and the size and number of parking spaces at the facility.
They also say the abortion business should have obtained a special-use permit because Planned Parenthood is technically a non-profit group operating a health care facility. City officials investigated the special permit argument last month and they say the abortion center was built in a planned development district with its own set of zoning rules.
That hearing took place Wednesday on whether Planned Parenthood should have obtained a special-use permit and zoning variances for its new abortion center. The abortion facility was approved in November 2006 and the occupancy permit was issued last month.
Attorneys for the city, for Planned Parenthood and for the pro-life advocates all requested more time to prepare for a hearing.
Tom Brejcha and Breen of the Thomas More Society asked for complete records of the zoning decisions, saying the city has been slow to get them the documents.
But the Suburban Chicago News reports that city attorney Alayne Weingartz denied officials haven’t produced the records.
She filed a motion of her own asking that the case be dismissed or transfer to the city’s Building Code Board of Appeals. Weingartz argued too much time has elapsed since Planned Parenthood got its approval to build last year.
According to the News, the board will rule December 12 on whether it has the complete zoning record and then will decide on January 7 whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case.
Eric Scheidler, spokesman for Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood, told the newspaper he thinks pro-life advocates will get a fair hearing.
Planned Parenthood came under fire during the process for using the fictitious name Gemini Office Development on its paperwork.
All of the documents in the approval process use the Gemini name — something both pro-life advocates and members of the city council have complained about during the debate over its opening.
Planned Parenthood used a similar secret process to open a new abortion center in Denver.