Yesterday I was in Illinois State Court in a hearing on the motions to dismiss the zoning lawsuit brought against Planned Parenthood and the City of Aurora. The suit, which has been in court for over 2 and 1/2 years now, is poised at a critical moment. For the first time, a judge might just hear the merits of the case!
If you’re not familiar with this case, I would recommend you read the story League at Ground Zero from the League’s Action News newspaper. It tells the story of how Planned Parenthood brought one of the nation’s largest abortuaries to Aurora, Illinois under a cloud of deception. You can also read more about the case at the Thomas More Society website.
The case alleges many serious violations of Aurora’s zoning code in the building of the facility. The most important of all these violations, however, is this: the zoning of the property on which the abortuary sits forbids the operation of a non-profit medical facility like Planned Parenthood!
This case has the potential to shut down Planned Parenthood Aurora for good and bring to light Planned Parenthood’s shady business practices.
In yesterday’s hearing, Judge Cerne heard motions to dismiss the case from Planned Parenthood, the City of Aurora and the Aurora Zoning Board of Appeals. All three organizations wanted this case tossed out of court.
Attorney Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society pro-life law center, who has been the lead counsel on this case, laid out a clear and convincing argument as to why we needs to be heard in a real trial.
Opposing counsel for Planned Parenthood and the City argued that the harms claimed in our case were too minimal to require a trial. They argued that the City had already made its decisions on the matter and now we just have to live with them. They argued that nobody has the jurisdiction to hear our complaint. These arguments, peppered with questions from Judge Cerne, went on over 1 and 1/2 hours.
Iin the end, it seemed clear that Judge Cerne believed Aurora pro-lifers had indeed been wronged and deserve a real day in court to seek redress. In the end Judge Cerne declined to rule from the bench immediately. He is going to hand down a ruling in about three weeks, on May 21.
Until then, please pray that, as Judge Cerne reviews our case and the evidence, that he will see the necessity of a real hearing for this landmark case.