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$7.5 million abortion clinic idled

A federal judge has ordered that a newly constructed $7.5 million abortion facility in the Chicago suburb of Aurora must remain idle pending a city investigation into the deception Planned Parenthood used in obtaining permission for the project.

“The continued closure of this deceitful abortion mill is a victory for the pro-life movement which exposed Planned Parenthood’s lies to the city,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue. “But it is especially a victory for the pre-born babies whose innocent lives will not be taken there.”

As WND reported earlier, Planned Parenthood withheld information from the city about the true plans for the building as it was obtaining various building and zoning permits. For instance, in one meeting during the planning process, officials told the city that the tenant was not yet determined, even though Planned Parenthood owned the site and was planning to launch its abortion services as soon as it could.

U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle has refused, in two separate court hearings, to grant a Planned Parenthood demand for an order telling the city to issue a certificate of occupancy that would allow Planned Parenthood to begin its business operations there.

In a hearing late this week, he said he would listen to more arguments on the status of the building, for now it must remain unoccupied.

Meanwhile, pro-life advocates who have been battling the facility since they discovered Planned Parenthood’s plans are using the victory as one launching point for a 40-day campaign of prayer and vigils outside abortion facilities nationwide.

David Bereit, the national director of the 40 Days for Life campaign, said vigils will start on Sept. 26 outside abortion facilities in more than 80 cities in 33 states.

He said it is the “largest and longest simultaneous pro-life mobilization in American history.”

The effort is an intensive pro-life campaign that focuses on 40 days of “prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil at abortion facilities, and grass-roots educational outreach.”

According to Bereit’s group, Planned Parenthood national president Cecile Richards has admitted in a mass e-mail about the Aurora situation that “more people are protesting this clinic than we’ve seen in a long time.

“To be honest,” she told supporters. “It’s going to take all our efforts to open this clinic.”

Planned Parenthood’s website gives appearance of being open for business

“If it takes all of Planned Parenthood’s national efforts to respond to 40 days of prayer, fasting, and peaceful activism in one city, we can only imagine the impact it will have on the entire abortion industry when more than 80 cities join together for 40 Days for Life beginning next week,” Bereit said. “The events in Aurora have inspired unprecedented levels of pro-life activity all across the nation, forming a ‘perfect storm’ which we believe could mark the beginning of the end of abortion in America.”

As WND reported earlier, an Aurora lawyer has asked the city to evict Planned Parenthood from the 22,000-square-foot abortion facility because its temporary occupancy permit has expired and “there is no legal right to occupy the current structure in any capacity.”

The city responded to the letter from lawyer Vincent A. Tessitore with the affirmation that the litigation was continuing. “While this matter is pending … we will maintain the status quo as to occupancy of this site…

“Based upon your complaint however, I have assigned an employee to visit the property and ascertain whether or not the property has been opened for business contrary to what was agreed,” wrote Alayne Weingartz, corporate counsel for the city.

Planned Parenthood had created a front group, called Gemini Office Development, which acted as the developer and owner.

In fact, Planned Parenthood officials told a local newspaper they withheld the identity of the owner in order to prevent people from knowing an abortion facility was being installed in their community.

Jill Stanek, a columnist for WND, has been monitoring the dispute, and has reported that opposition appears to be increasing.

“I was at the PP site in Aurora on Tuesday, September 18, 2007, from approximately 9:00 am until 2:00 pm, and again from 5:30 pm until 8:00 pm. At approximately 12:15 p.m. I observed several persons, male and female entering and exiting the front entrance of the PP facility. I observed tables being set-up in front of the entrance and items being placed on the tables. Some of these items were various pieces of published literature promoting PP’s services,” wrote a participant in her blog’s comment section. “Therefore it seems that Planned Parenthood in Aurora WAS INDEED CONDUCTING BUSINESS BY SOLICITING CLIENTS.”

A report in the Daily Herald newspaper said Planned Parenthood President Steve Trombley reported that his staff was training and unpacking, and city spokeswoman Carie Anne Ergo said such presence is allowed under a “prestock” approval. But officials did sent a letter to the clinic by the city warning them any activity must be limited to training and equipment setup.

Tessitore had told the city earlier that technically Planned Parenthood never should be allowed to occupy the building.

“The greater issue is the rule of law, well settled in Illinois. If you commit fraud in the permit and planning approval process, those approvals are void and revoked,” he said. “In my opinion there is a prima facie case for fraud in the approval process.”

He said a logical solution for the situation at hand would be for Planned Parenthood to sell or lease the current structure.

“Under the letter of the law, the structure simply could not be used by Planned Parenthood,” he said.

“They had their shot, they lied and now they can’t go there,” Tessitore said.



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