Eric Scheidler talks to the press outside City Hall after Mayor Weisner’s unilateral decision to allow Planned Parenthood to open, Oct. 1 [Photo by JT Eschbach]
Local activists under the direction of the Pro-Life Action League’s Communications Director, Eric Scheidler, successfully delayed the opening of the notorious “Abortion Fortress of Aurora” for two weeks, saving countless mothers and babies from abortion. And their battle against Planned Parenthood continues unabated.
Since August 9, the local pro-lifer group, Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood, has been working to keep Planned Parenthood out of Aurora. Their tireless efforts have included a round-the-clock Vigil, rallies, marches, protests and speeches at the City Council.
Planned Parenthood Practices Deception upon Aurora
The new Planned Parenthood facility—said to be the largest abortuary in the nation—was scheduled to open September 18. But an intesigation by the Aurora City Council in response to objections by pro-life citizens the deceptive manner in which Planned Parenthood came to town delayed the opening for two weeks.
Planned Parenthood hid behind the the mask of a front company, Gemini Office Development, during the entire approvals process, lying on permit applications and in statements to the Planning and Development Committee. The League continues to argue that Planned Parenthood is occupying their building at 3051 E. New York Street (map) illegally.
Eric Scheidler speaks to the press after the Sept. 20 hearing in Planned Parenthood v. City of Aurora that kept the “Abortion Fortress” closed [Photo by Sean Grismer]
Planned Parenthood had sought a preliminary injunction to force the City of Aurora to allow them to open September 18, but that motion was denied by Federal District Judge Charles Norgle on September 20.
Aurora Mayor Breaks His Word, Allows Clinic To Open
When the investigation into allegations of fraud and deception was launched on August 29, Aurora Mayor Thomas Weisner promised an open process, with results disclosed to the City Council and the public before any action was taken. On October 1, he broke that promise.
Basing his unilateral decision—which was apparently disclosed to Planned Parenthood hours before the press, Council or people—on seriously flawed reports by three investigators, Weisner granted Planned Parenthood an occupancy permit. His announcement was made at a press conference closed to the public. The facility opened the next morning, October 2.
There were three “reports”—Martens, Leutkehans and Barsanti—each with serious flaws:
At a closed press conference Oct. 1, Aurora Mayor Thomas Weisner announces he will allow Planned Parenthood to open [Photo by JT Eschbach]
The report by attorney Richard Martens is invalid because Martens was objected to by the City Council because of close ties to the City’s outside law firm. Despite these objections and the appointment of a new investigator, the Mayor secretly instructed Martens to complete his report.
- The report by Kane County State’s Attorney John Barsanti into criminal fraud on the part of Planned Parenthood is irrelevant because no criminal allegations were ever raised; civil fraud and deception are the issue
- The report by attorney Phillip Leutkehans was clearly a rush job—the copy handed to reporters was riddled with strikeouts and underscores—and fails to adequarely defend the position that Planned Parenthood required a “special use permit” to operate as a not-for-profit health facility at that location
Moreover, none of these reports was based on an adequate investigation into the approvals process; no staff or planning officials were ever interviewed, and many relevant documents were not turned over to the investigators.
Pro-Life Witness—and Legal Fight—Continues
Over 100 pro-life activists were there to oppose the October 2 opening of Planned Parenthood and to publicly object to the dubious investigation and the underhanded manner in which Weisner and Corporation Counsel Alayne Weingartz helped Planned Parenthood avoid real scrutiny of their actions. A peaceful, pro-life witness has continued during all hours that Planned Parenthood has been open.
Meanwhile the legal fight over Planned Parenthood continues. On October 2, an appeal was filed with the zoning board of Aurora calling into question the granting of an occupancy permit to Planned Parenthood. This should have sparked an immediate stay on the permit, but city officials have so far failed to respond to the appeal. Further legal steps are being taken by the Leauge’s legal team, headed by Tom Brejcha of the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center.
A libel suit was filed in Kane County, Illinois against Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area and CEO Steven Trombley for accusations of violence by the local pro-life leaders printed in a letter [PDF] to the City Council and an full-page ad [PDF] in the Aurora Beacon
A federal suit against the City of Aurora for violations of the First Amendment rights of the peaceful pro-life group is moving forward as well.