Planned Parenthood Aurora in the fall of 2007, shortly after opening [Photo by Eric Scheidler]
Yesterday, DuPage County Judge Paul Fullerton dismissed a zoning lawsuit against the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Aurora, Illinois that has been ongoing for nearly six years. In 2007, the Pro-Life Action League was notified that Planned Parenthood was building the largest abortion clinic in the nation in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois. Coincidentally, Aurora is the hometown of League Executive Director Eric Scheidler. From the moment we heard the news, opposing the opening of this facility became the League’s central project, and opposing their operation with prayer, protest and sidewalk counseling remains a large part of our mission. One of the avenues we pursued in attempting to shut down this abortion mega-center was a lawsuit against the City of Aurora and Planned Parenthood for improper zoning of the facility. The center sits in a business district where the operation of a non-profit health facility like Planned Parenthood is specifically prohibited. For the last six years this lawsuit has been through several different judges and venues without ever getting to the meat of the zoning issues involved due to Planned Parenthood and the City of Aurora’s numerous motions to dismiss the case on various grounds. Yesterday, Judge Fullerton finally granted one of those motions and dismissed the case. The court ruled that the city’s decision to handle the facility under zoning for a medical clinic instead of a more restrictive zoning for a non-profit health center was a decision the city could make and that the court had to respect what it deemed a “legislative decision” on the part of the city. The League’s attorneys with the Chicago-based Thomas More Society plan to appeal the ruling. Eric Scheidler had this to say about the ruling:
It’s incomprehensible how a decision by an appointed city official to exempt Planned Parenthood from Aurora’s zoning laws can somehow be considered ‘legislative’ by this judge. The reality is that the special treatment Planned Parenthood received has never yet been explained to any court or elected body—let alone to the people of Aurora. That’s why this ruling must be appealed.
But even as the legal process rolls on, the League’s focus will remain where it always has—keeping boots on the ground outside Planned Parenthood in prayer and offering help and hope to abortion-bound mothers.