by Steven Ertelt
December 14, 2007
Aurora, IL (LifeNews.com) — The battle to try to close down the new Planned Parenthood abortion business in Aurora continued this week as pro-life attorneys representing local residents brought their case back before the Aurora zoning board. They filed a motion for subpoenas for more testimony and information about the approval process.
Peter Breen and Thomas Brejcha of the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center contend Planned Parenthood should have obtained a special permit before building its new abortion business.
They asay 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 said the abortion center was built in a planned development district with its own set of zoning rules.
The dispute over the new abortion facility has become a national debate over how Planned Parenthood operates secretly, as it used a covert name to hide its identity during the zoning approval process.
The zoning board agreed to make more documents from the approval process public but denied a request for other information such as emails sent between public officials.
According to a Chicago Tribune report, city attorney Alayne Weingartz said more documents are not necessary in the case and that the city should uphold its 2006 decision approving Planned Parenthood’s zoning.
Breen told the Tribune he thinks city officials are cooperating in the case but complained they still have not acknowledged that they applied the wrong zoning ordinance to the abortion center.
In comments sent to LifeNews.com, Brejcha said city officials have admitted they have been referring to the wrong ordinance during much of the discussion.
“City officials are not being candid with Aurora’s citizens. They made a major mistake and they are trying to keep it out of the public eye despite compelling evidence of egregious zoning violations,” he said.
He added: “In fact, they have been stonewalling and barring our access to critical public documents. The citizens of Aurora should be questioning what their civil leaders are trying to cover up.”
The next zoning board meeting is on January 7 and officials will hear a request from Weingartz to dismissing the appeal of the zoning boards decision to approve Planned Parenthood.
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.