The conservative, pro-family residents of Austin, Texas, are shouting “Not in
my back yard” to Planned Parenthood, and builders as far away as San
Antonio are listening.
As News 8 Austin first reported, the general contractor overseeing the
construction of an abortion clinic has pulled out amid a burgeoning boycott by
Browning Construction confirmed for WorldNetDaily it has abandoned
Planned Parenthood’s $6.2 million “Choice Project.”
“We have requested that the construction contract be terminated because we are unable to secure and retain adequate subcontractors and suppliers to complete the project in a timely manner due to events beyond our control,” owner James Browning said in a statement.
Workers broke ground on the one-story, 9,931-square-foot clinic – slated
to be the largest such facility in 10 counties – in late September.
reported local concrete contractor Chris Danze organized a boycott of the project shortly afterwards seeking to “stop it, slow it down or make it more expensive.”
“Planned Parenthood and its agenda is bad for our community, bad for women and bad for children,” Danze told WorldNetDaily, calling Browning’s decision to pull out “very good news.”
Danze, chairman of the Austin Area Pro-Life Concrete Contractors and
Suppliers Association, sent a letter to more than 750 chief executives of
construction-related companies in Central Texas and San Antonio, asking
them not to supply materials or work on the clinic. The letter was signed by 88
local business owners, physicians, friends and family members.
In the past six weeks, the boycott has gained momentum with the lumber
supplier, roofing supplier and air conditioning contractor climbing on board, according to boycott supporters.
Danze says as many as 70 contractors officially registered their
participation and several others have unofficially pledged cooperation but do
not want to be named.
“We are up against monumental odds here, but the funny thing is that we
seem to be winning this thing,” Mark Lynn Proeger, pastor at nearby University
of Texas, told WorldNetDaily. “I think things are screeching to a halt.”
Danielle Tierney, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region
Inc., did not return calls seeking comment on Browning’s decision. In
September, Tierney told reporters the boycott would not deter them from
constructing the new South Austin facility.
“We advocate protecting the right to choose, and one of the best ways we
can guarantee that is to provide that service ourselves,” Tierney told reporters
at the groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 23.
Local press reports indicate Planned Parenthood remains undaunted and seeks a new general contractor.
The project, which has been six years in the making, consists of the construction of a new clinic to replace an existing Planned Parenthood
facility that currently sees over 7,000 patients a year plus an office
Originally set to open next year, the new center is strategically located between South Congress Avenue and Interstate 35 and is the first to cater to poor or uninsured women who live in South Austin neighborhoods.
According to Planned Parenthood, the new building is being built because
“nearly one out of every four women must travel more than 50 miles to obtain
abortion services.” The existing center does not perform abortions and currently refers over 2,000 women a year to local abortion providers.
“If we won’t do it, who will?” local Planned Parenthood officials ask in a “call to action” for donations to fund the project posted on the website.
“Planned Parenthood/Texas Capital Region will provide abortion services along with all the other services on the continuum of reproductive and
sexual health care,” the website pledges. “We are willing to do our part to provide a safe, secure place for a woman to seek an abortion with full knowledge that we will face opposition and threats of violence.”
Among the other services to be provided at the South Austin clinic are “testing and treatment for urinary tract and yeast infections, cholesterol
screenings, anemia screenings, and voter registration.”
Last year, 79,865 abortions were performed in Texas, compared with 81,686 in 1998, according to Texas Department of Health statistics. Abortions are performed in 25 of the 254 counties in Texas, up from 22 in 1998.
On its website, Planned Parenthood states 19 percent of all pregnancies in Texas result in abortions.
Abortion foes mobilized early against the construction project.
“The location of the clinic will undoubtedly invite some people of lower
income and those with less educational opportunities to find a ‘quick solution’
to their struggle. This also is unfortunate.” Bishop Gregory Aymond, leader of the Catholic Diocese of Austin told the Austin American-Statesman.
The Brazos Valley Coalition for Life has held prayer vigils and protests
near the construction site. The coalition is locked in a battle with Planned
Parenthood over another clinic in its back yard in Bryan, Texas.
David Bereit, an A&M graduate who gave up his pharmaceutical sales job to become the coalition’s executive director at two-thirds the salary, aims to wear out the clinic’s resolve by eroding its client base and financial support.
“Can there be a resolution that allows abortions to continue? From our
perspective, absolutely not because the stakes are too high,” Bereit told the Houston Chronicle.
On its website, Planned Parenthood boasts of having a presence in the “conservative, religious community” of Bryan, where its clinic “first dispensed birth control pills and offered family planning about two blocks from the Texas A&M campus.”
Meanwhile, the South Austin clinic has powerful backers within the political community, including state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and three former mayors.
The mayors held a press conference this afternoon to declare their support for Planned Parenthood. They accused clinic opponents of “engaging in illegal activities.”
“Everything we’re doing is legal, ethical and moral and we’ll continue,” Danze told WorldNetDaily.
“We have truth and grass-roots support and that will outweigh the support from washed up politicians,” he added.
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