by Steven Ertelt
March 18, 2008
Aurora, IL (LifeNews.com) — Once word got out to the pro-life community in Aurora, Illinois that Planned Parenthood had hidden its attempt at building a new abortion center there, people were furious. The community began protesting at the building site and those activities continue now that the abortion facility is open for business.
The community is still embroiled in a legal debate about the approval process — where Planned Parenthood used a legal corporation with a name that hid its identity — but pro-life advocates are still protesting five months later.
According to a Beacon News report, about 80 people participated in events over the weekend.
Eric Scheidler, the Pro Life Action League organizer who has spearheaded the local effort against the Planned Parenthood abortion center, told the newspaper it’s evidence that people are still upset by the new building.
"This morning, a couple in a blue van came in and talked to our counselors and then backed out [of having an abortion]," he said. "It just goes to show you that being here makes a difference."
Planned Parenthood volunteer Harvey McCarthur told the newspaper most people with appointments for abortion still kept them.
"They (the protestors) make life harder for the people who come here for help, which is outrageous," he claimed. "People shouldn’t have to face harassment just to get medical treatment."
Scheidler’s group has set April 26 as the next date for a big protest, which he expects to draw as many as 1,000 people.
"We are going to continue to resist them," he said. "They might think that the momentum is gone now that they’re open. But we’re here to send a message to the community and the city that we won’t go away."
In February, pro-life advocates filed suit against city officials for voting to dismiss motions they filed to reverse permit decisions allowing the building of a new Planned Parenthood abortion business.
The Aurora Zoning Appeals Board voted unanimously to dismiss the motions last month.
City officials disagreed with their contention that the approval of the building permit for Planned Parenthood’s abortion center violated zoning rules.
The zoning board dismissed the case saying the appeal didn’t fall within its jurisdiction. The board also claimed the appeal wasn’t filed in time.
A group of citizens teamed up with a local pro-life group for a lawsuit filed for them by the Thomas More Society, a pro-life law firm.
Planned Parenthood, the City of Aurora, Illinois and the Aurora Zoning Board are named in the suit and accused of depriving the families of their right as citizens to voice their concerns about the impact of the abortion business.
The suit contends Planned Parenthood used a fictitious name, the Gemini Office Development corporation, to hide its identity during the zoning approval process.
"By concealing the true planned use of the property, Planned Parenthood evaded the process that would have provided local residents and city officials with the opportunity to question how their neighborhood and community would be changed," TMC chief counsel Tom Brejcha told LifeNews.com.
Brejcha blamed the city for not rectifying the situation and accused Planned Parenthood of violating as many as 20 zoning ordinances during the process.