Caution or deception?
January 24, 2008 7:24 AM   Subscribe

A Planned Parenthood health center opened its doors to patients [in October], two weeks later than planned, after anti-abortion activists raised questions about how it received its building permits. Planned Parenthood is claiming victory, but :prolife/antiabortion: activitists are still smarting. But is the Aurora clinic just about abortions, or is it filling an unmet need in one of the largest population centers in Illinois? Illinois is ground zero for :prolife/antiabortion: activism
posted by nax (39 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by Artw at 7:31 AM on January 24, 2008

:prolife/antiabortion:? Couldn't figure out a way to state it that didn't seem to have an editorial slant. So I tried to set it off and let the reader choose. There didn't seem to be a standard format that I could find on the wiki for this. Suggestions welcome.
posted by nax at 7:34 AM on January 24, 2008

/me tries to prevent an enormous flamewar

Who granted this thread a building permit?
posted by DU at 7:36 AM on January 24, 2008

/deleted a two page rant...
/suggests everyone else do the same
/swears to not revisit this thread
posted by HuronBob at 7:42 AM on January 24, 2008

I'm missing the point of the problem.

There was a clinic to be built There were the usual small bunch of absolute raving loons who would protest anything with the name 'Planned Parenthood' on it, even if it was a Cooper Mini which only held pamphlets on responsible sexual pamphlets. To avoid the ARLs, the people sponsoring the clinic set up a front corporation to handle the construction.

They had a reason to be worried about the ARLs, and therefore they took prudent steps to avoid trouble early on.
posted by mephron at 7:51 AM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Illinois is ground zero for :prolife/antiabortion: activism

I would have gone with the Vatican.
posted by biffa at 8:03 AM on January 24, 2008

Couldn't figure out a way to state it that didn't seem to have an editorial slant. So I tried to set it off and let the reader choose. There didn't seem to be a standard format that I could find on the wiki for this. Suggestions welcome.

Generally, we refer to groups with the same name they use to refer to themselves. In this case, I believe they call themselves "pro-life", so calling them by that name should eliminate editorial slant.
posted by rocket88 at 8:06 AM on January 24, 2008

But rocket88, I'm pro-life in that I want to prevent wars and I'm opposed to the death penalty, but I support reproductive rights; some of the "pro-life" people support the death penalty and the war...also, I refer to my self as "the President of the United States of America" so if you could call me that at all times that would be great. kthnxbye!
posted by fuq at 8:16 AM on January 24, 2008 [4 favorites]

Bravo. You derailed your post by trying too hard to prevent derails. If you had just used "pro-life", no one would have blinked. What was that thing about overthinking?
posted by smackfu at 8:19 AM on January 24, 2008

What was that thing about overthinking?

Overthinking, overanalyzing / separates the body from the mind
posted by Electrius at 8:45 AM on January 24, 2008

Planned Parenthood provides plenty of other services, including men's health clinics, pre-natal care and post-natal care and they do it all on a sliding scale. These people are f'ing idiots.
posted by fshgrl at 8:47 AM on January 24, 2008

Is there some new kerfluffle I'm missing? I went through all the anxiousness with everyone else (Aurora is close to my hometown) pro-choice and cheered when the center was opened. All the "action emails" I've been getting have said that protesters have been dwindling and dwindling since the center opened.
posted by agregoli at 8:50 AM on January 24, 2008

"All the "action emails" I've been getting have said that protesters have been dwindling and dwindling since the center opened."

Wait until the warm weather comes around again.

I worked next door to a "clinic" for a few years...the prolifers don't like the cold much and weren't so vocal....

I came away with the belief that it is probably ok to kill babies in the winter, but I would be damned to hell if I did it when the weather was warm, that's why I took up fishing from April through November.
posted by HuronBob at 9:13 AM on January 24, 2008 [4 favorites]

Illinois is ground zero for :prolife/antiabortion: activism

Allow me to introduce you to Mississippi.

The article is from 2005 (I don't see anything more recent) but I read something very similar in print recently, so I think the situation is still similar there. And their website suggests there's still just one clinic in the whole state.
posted by Tehanu at 9:21 AM on January 24, 2008

I've posted this before, but it's worth mentioning again (some people found it interesting) -
Baptist Bible Scholar Graham Spurgeon - Is Abortion Murder?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:22 AM on January 24, 2008

2006 USAToday article on attempts to close the Jackson, MS clinic, which does perform abortions, unlike the Hattiesburg Planned Parenthood clinic I linked to before. The Jackson clinic seems to still be the only clinic in the state to offer abortion services.
posted by Tehanu at 9:37 AM on January 24, 2008

From that NRLC link:
As was reported in the June 2007 issue of NRL News, this statistic is grossly misleading. Planned Parenthood apparently obtains such a figure by counting each pregnancy test, each packet of pills it passes out, every test it does for sexually transmitted diseases, etc., as a uniquely rendered “service.” It places all services on equal footing with abortion, the performance of which brings in substantially more revenue. It also ignores how other services may be bundled together with the abortion, such as a pregnancy test, treatment for an STD, etc., increasing abortion-related profits.
It should be noted that lack of insurance would impact only Planned Parenthood’s ability to collect payment, not to see patients. If the patient lacked money, nothing would stop it from “nobly” treating the patient for free.
The national office quotes Trombley as saying that “Aurora is the second-largest city in Illinois and in dire need of medical services.” What exactly might this “dire medical need” be? Aurora has two major hospitals, several clinics, and hundreds of doctors listed in its yellow pages (see
Trombley says the Aurora clinic would “provide a broad range of services” including pregnancy testing, birth control, gynecological services, testing for STDs, as well as surgical and chemical abortions. WebMD lists 23 local ob-gyns in the Aurora area and dozens more in nearby neighborhoods, which would seem to be sufficient to meet the ordinary reproductive health care needs of a population Aurora’s size, but this apparently is not the area of “need” that Planned Parenthood is addressing.
I'm glad this was linked, because it's enlightening to see what the viewpoint actually is.
posted by mikeh at 10:58 AM on January 24, 2008

Local background: the one abortion clinic in Aurora closed a couple of years ago after the doctor retired (I heard all about it, it was located in my parish). Drive through the town and you will see lots of yard signs with the message "Planned Parenthood is Bad for Aurora". No stand here: just some additional info WRT "need" and "handful of loonies" issues.
posted by cgk at 11:11 AM on January 24, 2008

I always find it to be revealing when anti-choice loons talk about Planned Parenthood and profits; either illustrating that they're so frickin' stupid they are unaware of the fact that PP is non-profit, or that they're so totally divorced from the truth that they don't care.

As for terminology, I'd rather be accurate, the so-called "Pro-Life" crowd don't actually much care about life, or they'd be protesting executions, wars, etc. They'd also be fully behind contraception based sex education, and free distribution of contraception.

Instead we find that the so-called "Pro-Life" people are usually quite in favor of the death penalty, love war, and oppose any and all contraception. What does this tell us? It tells us that their agenda isn't about life, its about slut punishing.
posted by sotonohito at 12:14 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

The death penalty and war issues are where the Catholic and fundamenalist wings of the pro-life movement part company.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:45 PM on January 24, 2008

DevilsAdvocate, yeah, but the Catholic wing is also opposed to contraception (proven to reduce abortion rates), so you can't really argue that they're pro-life either.

Also, the Catholic wing killed Olga Reyes, and I can't really say that any group that kills women is pro-life.
posted by sotonohito at 1:04 PM on January 24, 2008

Sad thing is, it's such a polarizing issue that some people who feel very strongly about it will back candidates they otherwise wouldn't. I know a few people who disagree with Bush's foreign policy and stances on other issues who voted for him in 2004 because they felt that voting for Kerry was a vote for abortion. So in some ways it causes the different factions to vote together even though they feel very differently about other issues.

I'm not saying I agree with them. I very strongly don't. But abortions' polarizing ability seems unmatched in current US politics. And we're not exactly lacking in polarizing issues.
posted by Tehanu at 1:55 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

I was listening to a "debate" on C-SPAN the other day -- the anniversary of Roe v Wade -- between a Planned Parenthood spokesperson and someone from NARAL (I think it was them, could have been NRLC). I put "debate" in quotes because it was really more just a rehash of the usual talking points on both sides; there wasn't much in the way of back-and-forth.

I felt sorry for the mediator/host the whole time. She was trying hard to get some sort of salient discussion of Roe and the Constitutional law questions involved going, but the idiot from NARAL just couldn't stop it with the "OMFG BABYKILLERS" nonsense. Nothing but petty demagoguery and emotional rhetoric; it's like listening to a pull-string doll.

I guess what struck me is that I think there are a fair number of valid arguments against Roe, and despite being personally all for reproductive choice, I have to admit that it's bordering on one of those "hard cases make bad law" examples. But they never came up. There was no effort, zero, given to trying to convince anyone who might have been on the fence, even with regards to special cases or in the legal technicalities.

That just depressed me because when nobody's even trying to actually have a conversation anymore, I think the chance of ever resolving the issue in a peaceful manner declines severely. It's nothing but to-the-death trench warfare, apparently.

Off topic: baby_balrog's link is one of the more interesting things I've read in a while. It's definitely not what I was expecting given the source. Fascinating.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:15 PM on January 24, 2008

sotonohito: Thanks, I hadn't previously heard of Olga Reyes.

Kadin2048: Almost certainly NLRC, as NARAL is a pro-choice group.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:28 PM on January 24, 2008

Oops, NRLC.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:29 PM on January 24, 2008

“I'm missing the point of the problem.”

Yeah, slighly confusing. Here’s the beef: Planned Parenthood is trying to build their clinic and right now the permission for occupancy is stalled in Aurora’s zoning board of appeals.
Doesn’t matter that they’re already in there - there was (according to independent review) no legal basis for denying them occupancy.

But it went before the ZBA because some folks - specifically the Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood and the Pro-Life Action League - said they misrepresented themselves (applied as an office development subsidiary) and didn’t recieve proper permits from the city. They needed a special-use permit, apparently. So the city said GFYS and said the ZBA doesn’t have the right to handle the appeal (said it should be the building code board of appeals - yes, yes, I know this is all as exciting as The Phantom Menace).

Meanwhile people have been requesting public information on the matter but the city has been telling them GFYS, including an attorney looking to review the records at city hall.

Essentially pro-lifers are being dicks by trying to use legal trickery to prevent the (perfectly legal) clinic opening.

And the city is going `.|.. right back by not playing ball and denying people what is otherwise their legal right to have access to.
Big clusterfuck all the way around.

Allow me to editorialize - so what even if it is just about abortions?
It’s their right. It’s the law. End of story.
Someone’s moral obligation to resist ends where they’re not resisting the actual matter but impeding ancillary progress. What, it’s too tough to litigate? Too hard to organize and put in pro-life politicians?
Bunch of whiney punks who want to think they’re fighting for some kind of mystical idealized embryonic life so they don’t have to face all the shit 90% of the worlds infants are born into every day.
Kids in our own backyard here in Chicago don’t have enough to eat, familes are going cold in this brutal weather, but no, I can’t stop and give a kid a sandwich and a blanket, but I’ve got time to hire a lawyer and push a knowingly (I’ll emphasize - KNOWINGLY) hopeless battle over some quibbling building permit grabastic detail. Hell, I know it and I don’t even smell like a lawyer.

But no, let’s shovel money into the toilet and generate loads of lawyer bills and paperwork and waste time while poor mothers can’t get good pre-natal care and young teens aren’t educated about safe sex.
Jesus, it makes me want to bust heads sometimes. Like Christ was all about shunning the poor and diseased and lawyering up against the whores and the sinners.
I, and some other folks, spent a lot of time and money this week and last with some poor folks helping them stay warm against the cold. Where the fuck were these people? Doesn’t anyone want to DO anything to help people anymore? It’s all about quibbling over the rules and showing how much holier than thou we all are.

Tough for me to give a damn about the status of some building which. even if successfully blocked (and I’d lay odds at 1000 to 1), won’t do anything, won’t at all affect the law as it concerns the unborn - especially when I see a 12 year old girl with a jacket held together by packing tape and carpet thread digging through the garbage.
Don’t tell me they’re fighting for the children.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:43 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ugh. I see abortion protesters every fucking Sunday anytime I drive to the mall. It makes me want to go home, have my cat piss in a SuperSoaker, and squirt the hell out of these people. I can't stand that they make their little hate-filled children hold the pictures of aborted babies. I'll never understand these people. If they're so anti-abortion, then don't have one. Let the rest of the people do what they want.
posted by dasheekeejones at 6:50 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Complete gynecological services, including breast exams and pap tests
A range of contraceptive options
Pregnancy testing
Screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections
Rapid HIV testing
Emergency contraception
Abortion services
Options counseling, including adoption referrals
Educational programs
English and Spanish speaking medical professionals
The trusted Planned Parenthood reputation

Seems that having adoption and contraception on the list should make these protesters happy. Although "trusted PP reputation" is kind of lost in translation. I mean, the only reputation I ever heard was one inflicted upon by the protesters (baby killers, etc)

*squirts cat piss on them*
posted by dasheekeejones at 6:54 PM on January 24, 2008

I was reading MeTa the other day, and I felt a strong urge to go home, have my cat piss in a SuperSoaker, and squirt the hell out of these people. So now I'm sitting at home, SuperSoaker ready, and my cat isn't cooperating. Advice? [more inside]
posted by dasheekeejones to pets & animals at 1:37 AM

Sorry. Carry on!
posted by Tehanu at 10:40 PM on January 24, 2008

A Nobody Scores webcomic on volunteering at an abortion clinic.

It made me laugh, anyway.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:02 AM on January 25, 2008

Sorry, but the irony about this is killing me.

Most anti-choicers tend to be Republican -->Repubs tend to make a big political ballyhoo out of "overregulation gone mad" --> Repubs find a use for permits & zoning afterall -->bureaucratic paperwork good thing when it blocks a PP clinic.

However, if we replace "PP clinic" with "supermarket" or "office building", the reaction would likely be much screaming about the Damned Meddling Guv'mint. If it wasn't so freaking serious and scary these people are this way, I'd feel better about giggling at the contradiction.

Also loving the fact that the centre they are working against will also have adoption services as part of its remit. Because the alternative to abortion if abstinence fails is...?

Unless the local market for adoption facilitators is as crowded as the local OB-Gyn market, in their view?
posted by Grrlscout at 3:54 AM on January 25, 2008

“However, if we replace "PP clinic" with "supermarket" or "office building", the reaction would likely be much screaming about the Damned Meddling Guv'mint.”

Exactly. It kills me. And they turn around and say “oh, yeah, I’m a conservative - small government, all that” Uh, just...there’s a...hello?
posted by Smedleyman at 10:22 AM on January 25, 2008

Because the alternative to abortion if abstinence fails is...?

Ha. Sorry, I know what you mean, but that's still funny.

Regarding "pro-life"--sure, it doesn't mean pro-life in every circumstance. Neither does "pro-choice," but it's considered acceptable terminology. Pro-choice people in general are probably anti-choice on a lot of other matters (gun control, environment, taxes). So what?

Both terms say what they mean, with regard to abortion, and nothing more.
posted by torticat at 10:56 AM on January 25, 2008

If they say what they mean, I wish that "pro-life" people would call themselves "anti-choice," because that's what it means, in regards to abortions. "Pro-life" doesn't seem to apply for many of them when it's the woman's life vs. the fetus in a medical emergency.
posted by agregoli at 11:37 AM on January 25, 2008

Yeah I meant NRLC, not NARAL. Too many N's. But I was incorrect about the other organization also; it was NOW, not Planned Parenthood. So yeah, I botched that pretty good.

I just looked the program up on C-SPAN Radio's page, and it was "Washington Journal" on the morning of Jan 22nd. The guests were Kim Gandy, President of the National Organization for Women (who seemed to have a head on her shoulders), and Susan Muskett, a Congressional Liaison for the National Right to Life Committee (who did not).
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:57 PM on January 25, 2008

"Pro-life" doesn't seem to apply for many of them when it's the woman's life vs. the fetus in a medical emergency.

Some of them. Yes. I think you'd find that an exception to save the life of the mother would be a majority view. But anyway, yes, so take up the inconsistency with that segment; don't tar the whole group. For most of us who are uncomfortable with the unborn (especially late-term) having no rights, it has nothing to do with punishing women for sex. It has to do with babies.

Anyway. Some pro-choicers hold some pretty repellent views, too. I think most people fall somewhere in the middle and understand the terminology on both sides. Because they favor life and choice, coming down at different points along the spectrum depending on timing and circumstances.
posted by torticat at 1:52 PM on January 25, 2008

You'll notice I did NOT tar the whole group. I said, and this is coming from my experience, that many do feel that way. Recent attempts to push through abortion bans have not always included a "life of the mother" clause, and when they do, the details of that is often so specific that if it were a life-and-death situation, it's likely the woman would die, or the doctor would have to face rammifications afterwards for breaking the law to save her life. I do not find that realistic or helpful.

I'll still use anti-choice, personally, as it is accurate, and I've never really seen an argument as to why that would be inaccurate. Pro-lifers are against giving women the choice of aborting or keeping a pregnancy (as well as many of them are against giving women other choices like contraception, or education about contraception). Contrarily, "pro-abortion," is false, as I've never met anyone who wants people to have abortions, more abortions, please yes, let's have as many as possible! The most important thing would be to try to reduce abortions, which both sides want at the core. One of the disagreements lies in how best to do that.

I never said that the view was "punishing women for sex" (some nutsos obviously do feel this way, however - oh, the arguments I have heard!) But I do not and will not accept that a fetus who has yet to be born should supercede the rights of a fully grown woman. Thank god I still have the right to my own body integrity! But this is obviously part of the debate and I shouldn't be replying at all, cause I suspect this FPP was an excuse to start a debate anyway. Argh. Sorry.
posted by agregoli at 2:56 PM on January 25, 2008

You're right, agregoli, you didn't tar everybody. But you did say pro-lifers in general shouldn't call themselves that, and appealed to a segment to explain why. I call myself pro-life but do not believe the life of a fetus trumps that of the mother. "Anti-choice" is loaded (would you settle for being called "anti-choice" on any number of other issues where you might think it's appropriate for the government to step in?), but I've got no problem with "anti-abortion." That seems the most accurate.

Also, true: you didn't say the bit about punishing women for sex. sonotohito did. That line comes up everytime abortion is discussed on metafilter, and it makes me nuts. Sorry for conflating the arguments though.

I'm not that interested in getting into a debate either :) --but if you're still reading, I am curious about the claim that some restrictions proposed recently (in the US I assume) have not included an exception for the life of the mother. Health, yes, but life? Do you have an example?
posted by torticat at 4:03 PM on January 25, 2008

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