Planned Parenthood concealed its ownership of a huge new abortion facility scheduled to open soon in a Chicago suburb, and pro-life advocates – and at least one city official – are questioning whether the abortion provider can mislead officials without repercussions.
“There’s always legal ramifications,” Aurora, Ill., Alderman Richard Irvin told the Chicago Tribune while standing with some of the estimated 1,200 pro-life protesters who assembled over the weekend to protest the existence of the structure that had been depicted by owners as an office building.
He was not on the board when the project, proposed by a company identifying itself as “Gemini Office Development,” was approved. But he said he has concerns the building was brought into his city under false pretenses, and said the city could sue Planned Parenthood for being deceptive.
There was no acknowledgement during the permit application and construction processes that the project actually was scheduled to be an abortion business. However, as WND columnist Jill Stanek reported, a pro-life construction worker on the 22,000-square foot site became suspicious of the bulletproof glass and surgical suites, components not routine in an office building.
It was soon outed as an abortion facility, prompting the weekend protest, and outrage from pro-life community members who said, as Stanek phrased it, “If citizens may lie to occupancy permit officials, may they also lie to police officers? Or at city council meetings? Where will Aurora draw the line between permissible and impermissible lies?”
Part of application papers from a front company for Planned Parenthood, indicating the occupant of its new building was ‘unknown at this time’
“At a minimum, the city of Aurora should launch an official and legal investigation, questioning the applicant and tenant under oath about statements on applications and in meetings,” she said. “If the city does not, is something more going on, a cover-up? Did some officials know that the public documents filed and statements made by the applicant were false? Did some officials know the tenant was to be an abortion provider, but then conspired with Gemini to keep it quiet to avoid politically unfavorable publicity?”
Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said the deception probably was the result of two issues: the fact that a Planned Parenthood clinic’s construction in Austin, Texas, earlier was delayed for months when local contractors refused to work on the project, and the general atmosphere that accompanies abortion businesses.
“What do you get when you get an abortion facility? Not only do you get dead children, the blight and underworld that comes along with that, but you also get thousands upon thousands of pro-lifers who adorn the streets with pictures of aborted children,” he told WND. “I don’t think either is good for a community.”
The tactic, however, is not isolated to the Illinois location. Newman said the same scenario developed with Denver, where Planned Parenthood recently purchased a building without announcing its presence.
“The bottom line is nobody wants an abortion facility in their community. It’s kind of like a toxic waste dump,” he said.
Cheryl Sullenger, also of Operation Rescue, said community residents have legitimate concerns when a Planned Parenthood facility announces it is moving in.
“They’re concerned about their children, what their children are going to be taught as far as sex education. They don’t want their daughters getting abortions without their knowledge, and in some states Planned Parenthood is famous for promoting that. When Planned Parenthood comes to town, the community is going to have something to say about it,” she said.
Unless, of course, the community doesn’t know.
In this case, the project was in development throughout all of 2006 and into 2007. But on city permit applications, Gemini posed as the owner, never revealing its ownership by Planned Parenthood on construction applications dated March 23, 2006; July 27, 2006; Nov. 22, 2006; and Dec. 4, 2006. Then in March 22, 2007, in an application for signage permission, Gemini stated the tenant was “UNKNOWN AT THIS TIME.”
That, Stanek wrote, was “clearly untrue.”
Sullenger told WND corporations clearly need to fear the concerted voices of members of a community.
“If they have the community opposing them, it’s really difficult,” she told WND, citing her own city’s experience with the mega-billion dollar Wal-Mart corporation. “The whole neighborhood got up and said, ‘We don’t want this Wal-Mart here,’ and the city council denied [building permission].”
Stanek noted on her blog that in addition to not revealing the correct ownership on construction permit applications, Planned Parenthood also apparently was deceptive in meetings with city officials.
“In a Nov. 16, 2006, City of Aurora Planning & Development Committee meeting, the Gemini representative purposefully concealed the tenant when asked directly,” she said. “He even allowed Alderman Lynda Elmore, a member of the committee and in whose ward PP was being built, to speculate that townhouse occupants across the street ‘should be very happy.'”
Elmore asked: “Is this building being built specifically for a client?”
Said Gemini’s representative: “We’re in negotiations with a tenant; we do not currently have a lease but we still want to move ahead.”
Prayer vigils already have begun at the site, with the Pro-Life Action League working on a 40-day vigil in protest.
“This is not just a local abortion clinic; this a regional headquarters,” Eric Scheidler, communications director for the league, told the newspaper. “We want the city of Aurora to see clear as day that Aurora does not want Planned Parenthood as a neighbor.”
He noted that another abortion clinic was shut down in Aurora just last year. “That really galvanized people,” he said.
Planned Parenthood officials said they concealed their ownership to avoid opposition to their work.