A federal judge has ruled a multi-million dollar abortion facility built by Planned Parenthood in the Chicago suburb of Aurora cannot open tomorrow as abortionists had demanded.
The issue involves the deception Planned Parenthood engaged in with the city during the construction of the building, which was outed as an abortion plant only when a pro-life construction worker began questioning the multiple surgical rooms in combination with bulletproof glass windows.
U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle during an emergency hearing today rejected Planned Parenthood’s demand that the city be ordered to issue a certificate of occupancy so it could legally launch its abortion business in Aurora immediately.
Norgle scheduled a hearing in the case for Thursday.
“For years, Planned Parenthood has run roughshod over the rights of ordinary citizens,” said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League. “It is heartening that a federal judge in Illinois has refused to be pressured by Planned Parenthood.”
The hearing Thursday will continue arguments over the disputed facility, which Planned Parenthood wanted to open for business tomorrow.
“Planned Parenthood used underhanded tactics to build its abortion facility in Aurora,” said Sedlak, “and now it wants all of its shenanigans to be ignored. Planned Parenthood is demanding that a certificate of occupancy to be issued, as if the organization had been forthcoming from the beginning. That is ludicrous.”
ALL said pro-life activists “have uncovered what appear to be clear irregularities in the permitting process and have asked the Aurora city council to look into the situation before issuing an occupancy permit. The council agreed and engaged an outside attorney to review the process.”
The project was permitted by the city under the corporate name of Gemini Office Development LLC, which didn’t disclose the construction actually was for Planned Parenthood, “even going so far as to say that the new building’s tenant was unknown,” ALL noted.
“While the final outcome of the judge’s review is not yet known,” Sedlak said, “we applaud Judge Norgle for wanting all the facts before making a ruling. We encourage him to put off his decision until the city council review of the permitting process is completed and all the facts are in.”
According to Tom Brejcha, of the Thomas More Society, each side in the dispute has 24 hours to file arguments for the judge.
“The question is whether their opening can be delayed while an investigation is concluded into the allegations into whether PP defrauded the city.”
The city investigation was announced after revelations of the deception came to light. Planned Parenthood then filed a lawsuit begging the court for an order that would allow it to open. The building has had a temporary certificate of occupancy allowing its preparation for opening, but that already was scheduled to expire today.
Pro-life activists, including Operation Rescue, the Pro-life Action League and others, have called on the city to deny the permanent permit for the 22,000-square foot building. Planned Parenthood said it already had scheduled appointments.
“We thank God for this reprieve. Those abortions will not take place … and for that, we are grateful,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “It really shows you the arrogance of Planned Parenthood, which would presume to schedule abortions even though permits were not yet finalized.”
Mayor Tom Weisner has said the city is looking into Planned Parenthood’s construction of the abortion clinic under the name of Gemini Health Center and whether the deception creates a fatal flaw in the approvals the facility got from the city.
“We’re not going to allow operations to begin until we’ve accomplished the investigation,” the mayor said.
The city already has hired a lawyer to review the process and determine if Planned Parenthood followed the city’s procedures, and the city attorney is looking into whether the developer lied to city staff and aldermen when it reported it was negotiating with a client for the building, even though the Planned Parenthood ownership and occupancy already had been determined.
“The City of Aurora’s fig leaf argument that it was ‘misled’ about the nature of the services that Planned Parenthood intends to provide at its facility is neither factually nor legally persuasive,” Planned Parenthood had argued.
The attack came from Steve Trombley, president of Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area, who sent out a three-page letter.
According to documents assembled by Stanek, Trombley’s letter said members of the “Pro-Life Action League … have a well-documented history of advocating violence against both persons and property as well as other related criminal activity.”
However, the “documented history” was a court ruling that later was overturned – three times – by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Oh my, if that doesn’t scream libel lawsuit, I don’t know what does,” Stanek wrote on her blog. “Here, Trombley unmistakably accused [pro-lifers] of commandeering violence.”
Brejcha was not slow to act when the Planned Parenthood letter surfaced. Within hours,
he had generated a reply:
“We are writing you, on behalf of our clients, to demand a prompt and public retraction of false, libelous and malicious statements in your letter, dated September 4, 2007, to the mayor and aldermen of the City of Aurora (‘letter’), and also in recent newspaper ads,” Brejcha wrote.
“Specifically, you falsely stated in your letter that those ‘opposing [your] new facility [who] are headquartered in Aurora … have a well-documented history of advocating violence against both persons and property as well as other related criminal activity’ (letter, p. 1). You go on to assert, also falsely, that ‘the zealots who have been opposing our new facility have a well-documented history of violence and criminal activity’ (id., p. 3),” the letter continued.
“Your many assertions about the Pro-Life Action League (‘the League’) and Joseph Scheidler, its director, are red herrings as they have nothing to do with the Aurora protests. But they too are false and misleading. This you well know, as your Planned Parenthood clinics were part of NOW v. Scheidler, a national class action suit, and you are bound by its final result in favor of the League and Scheidler. The verdict your letter cites is a legal nullity, as it was reversed by the United States Supreme Court, not just once but twice. In 2003, the verdict was overturned, 8-1. Then in 2006, the Justices again ruled for the League and Scheidler 8-0, ‘unanimously’ – as you describe the verdict (letter, p. 1) while omitting any mention of its reversal. Final judgment was just entered for the League and Scheidler, in compliance with the mandate of the U.S. Supreme Court, in federal district court here in Chicago.”
Planned Parenthood repeatedly listed the name of the owner as Gemini during the permitting and construction process, not revealing its actual plans for the building.