A court hearing is scheduled in a battle in Michigan over whether Planned Parenthood will be allowed to build and open a new abortion business in Auburn Hills.
Opponents are planning a prayer vigil Saturday to prepare for the hearing Sept. 7 at which a judge could decide whether the deed restriction that limits a property's use to "restaurant, retail or office" uses includes an abortion center.
Fighting the plan is the owner of an adjacent property, a Comfort Suites Inn, as well as members of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.
Spokeswoman Monica Migliorino Miller told WND today that the deed restriction was set up on the property years ago when the Comfort Suites was built. She explained that the owner of the multi-million dollar investment wanted to make that his business would not be damaged by a neighbor.
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The properties in Auburn Hills both were owned by the same investor at one point, so applying the restriction was a simple matter.
A restaurant project had been planned on the property next to the hotel, but the developer ran out of funding and abandoned the project without completing it. So Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan bought the location and announced it planned to establish an abortion business.
When the Comfort Suites owner challenged the plan and cited the deed restriction, Planned Parenthood sued, arguing that its plan for an "office" was a legitimate use.
"It does not matter whether the medical office use is for a group of radiologists, oral surgeons, pediatricians, urgent care doctors, or family general medicine (such as plaintiff's practice). These are all medical office uses not prohibited by the Restrictive Covenant and authorized office uses under the city's zone of the property," Planned Parenthood argued.
That assertion, however, is in dispute, according to a court filing by those objecting to the abortion business plans.
"Use as a medical office is not included [in] the permitted uses of the restrictive covenant and is therefore prohibited," the court has been told. "The zoning code of Auburn Hills itself distinguishes between 'medical office' and 'office' by its own terms and, thereby, directly supports defendant's position. The zoning provides that 'office buildings for any of the following occupations: executive, administrative, professional, accounting, writing, clerical, stenographic, drafting and sales' are separate and apart from 'medical offices and outpatient clinics."
"The structure of this zoning ordinance supports defendant's contention that 'medical office' is NOT included in the restrictive covenant term 'office,'" it said. "As commonly used, people regularly distinguish between an office, a medical office, a clinic, and an outpatient surgical facility. Yet [Planned Parenthood] would have us believe that every item on that list is identical AND is included in the term 'office.'"
The brief further argued that Planned Parenthood may not even be planning a "medical office."
"Plaintiff has not disclosed to defendant or this court the very basic fact of … how they will actually be using the property. Despite assertions that plaintiff should be able to do anything it pleases, the restrictive covenant gives defendant a valuable property right in the land purchased by plaintiff. There are inherent differences between an administrat[ive] office, a medical office, a clinic, and an outpatient surgical facility – significant differences between the commonly used meanings of those terms."
Miller told WND it was providential that the deed restriction existed, and the adjacent property owner was willing to seek its enforcement.
She said, "For us – to keep this abortion center from ever opening is not simply a matter of law – it is a matter of morality and justice. We are gathering to petition God – the ultimate judge. We beg for his intervention that this court case will be decided in such a way that no unborn children will ever be put to death in Auburn Hills. Unfortunately, Oakland County already has plenty of abortion clinics. Poor and needy women don't need abortion, they need real material help for themselves and their children. As long as Planned Parenthood kills innocent human life, this group must be opposed – and we will continue to be that voice of opposition."
The vigil, at 8 p.m. at 1625 N. Opdyke Road in Auburn Hills, will feature nationally known pro-life activist leader Joseph Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League and attorney Rebecca Kiessling.
The court hearing will be in Oakland County Court in Pontiac, Mich., at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 7.