Victory In Aurora, Illinois Keeps Planned Parenthood on the Defensive

An Illinois appellate court has overturned a lower court’s dismissal of a zoning and fraud lawsuit brought by the Thomas More Society on behalf of several neighbors of a Planned Parenthood clinic. In the case, Fox Valley Families v. Planned Parenthood, the Plaintiffs argued that the clinic’s operation is not permitted under local zoning laws because of its location in a business development district – an area that is exclusively reserved for for-profit businesses that contribute to the city’s tax base. The case now returns to the circuit court for discovery and further proceedings.

“We are proud to have been able to partner with Thomas More Society as they fight the duplicity and lies of Planned Parenthood in Illinois,” comments Katie Short, Life Legal Defense Foundation’s Vice-President for Legal Affairs. “This case exposes Planned Parenthood’s willingness to resort to lies and deception to expand and entrench their deadly business. It also demonstrates, once again, how zoning codes can be useful tools in preventing Planned Parenthood from making inroads into our communities.”

Planned Parenthood began building the mega-clinic at the heart of this dispute in 2007. At the time it opened, it was the largest abortion facility in the United States. The response from Aurora citizens and pro-life advocates was enough to cause Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, to refer to Aurora as “ground zero” in Planned parenthood’s nationwide effort to “protect reproductive freedom.”

Planned Parenthood cited the fact that it had been paying property taxes on the Aurora property since 2006 to bolster its claim that it was operating as a for-profit entity. However, within a few months of the circuit court’s dismissal of the case, Planned Parenthood applied for property tax exemptions and received a rebate of taxes paid, arguing that its use of the property was strictly charitable and non-profit. Planned Parenthood also won $8.05 million in 501(c)(3) tax-free bond financing from the Illinois Finance Authority by pledging that it would use the property for exclusively charitable purposes. Thus, the argument that Planned Parenthood fits within the “for profit” category is spurious.

In fact, the entire process of Planned Parenthood acquiring the property to build this center was based on lies. Planned Parenthood hid behind two layers of dummy “front” companies to secure permits to construct its 21,000-square-foot abortion facility. During the development process, Planned Parenthood withheld its true intended use: medical and surgical abortion. The revelation in July 2007 that the property was to house a massive Planned Parenthood abortion facility sparked immediate public outrage, soon followed by legal action from the Thomas More Society – exactly the reactions that Planned Parenthood managed to forestall by its duplicity.

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