WHEATON, IL - The Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based public interest law firm, filed their notice of appeal with the Illinois Appellate Court, Second Judicial District, challenging the dismissal of its 2008 lawsuit against Planned Parenthood of Illinois, its affiliates or alter ego’s, including an entity named, “Gemini Office Development, LLC” (whose acronym conveys a blasphemous insult to people of religious faith – “G.O.D.”).
The lawsuit, brought on behalf of neighbors of the facility as well as an association of Fox Valley Families opposed to Planned Parenthood's disregard for Aurora’s laws, alleges that the nation’s largest abortion provider misled and lied to Aurora zoning and building officials in 2006 and 2007 to get permission to build its mega-clinic, and since then purports to operate a non-profit business at a site explicitly reserved for for-profit businesses – thereby also betraying its express representations and commitments to the Illinois Finance Authority, which provided some $8 million in financing at taxpayer expense on condition that the massive new building be operated exclusively for non-profit, charitable purposes.
The lawsuit, which the trial court dismissed late last August asserted that Planned Parenthood, having faced opposition from contractors and residents during construction of other abortion facilities around the U.S., decided to conceal its identity in construction of its new Aurora facility, which was built in 2007. Thus Planned Parenthood hid behind “G.O.D.” in seeking and securing its zoning and building permits. Also, it claimed to be building a “medical office building,” to be occupied by as yet unidentified tenants such as physicians’ offices, dentists’ offices, or pharmacy retailers, whose offices would be built out to suit these as yet unknown tenants’ specifications. But the truth that this would be a massive abortion facility and political headquarters for Planned Parenthood in Illinois (with space for community organizing and education and lobbying efforts) was never disclosed – so far as the record shows – to Aurora’s officials. Only when the Chicago Tribune broke the story about Planned Parenthood’s involvement in July, 2007, was the truth publicly known. A great public outcry ensured, with over 1,000 demonstrators protesting at the site, and hundreds of opponents lining up to testify at late night City Council meetings. Under the Aurora zoning ordinance, Planned Parenthood’s proposed true non-profit land use was classified as a “special” use, requiring special notice to neighbors and then a public hearing. Pursuant to a later zoning amendment, Planned Parenthood’s non-profit use was “prohibited” at its chosen site, which was a “business development” zone wholly restricted to for-profit businesses.
But Aurora’s Mayor intervened before the City Council took any action, calling on supposed “experts” who rendered reports that grossly misstated the applicable zoning and related laws, on the basis of which the Mayor directed that permits be issued – despite the clear violations of law.
Planned Parenthood’s non-profit abortion facility and political headquarters for pushing the Illinois “reproductive rights” agenda was anything but a proper, permitted, cookie-cutter “medical office building” for doctors and dentist tenants. No hearing was ever held, either before Aurora officials or in court. Plaintiffs were denied the right to take depositions of Aurora officials, some of whom had even admitted years ago (before the Mayor imposed a “gag order” on city workers) that the zoning law actually prohibited Planned Parenthood’s land use.
Nevertheless, the plaintiffs’ lawsuit, litigated for many years on a variety of legal issues, was dismissed on August 29, 2013, on a narrow legal ground. Judge Fullerton ruled that Aurora’s decision to allow Planned Parenthood to operate was a “legislative” decision and thus largely insulated from judicial review. But the City’s decisions to let the facility open for business were all made by executive officials (Zoning & Building Commissioners and the Mayor), whereas the city’s legislative body – the Aurora City Council – never took any action on the matter except to hear objections voiced by thousands of Aurora citizens at late night hearings in late summer and autumn, 2007. According to settled Illinois law, judicial review in such a case should have been substantial and extensive, not de minimis or rubber-stamped. Thus the plaintiffs fully anticipate that their appeal will prove successful, and that justice – albeit delayed – will not be denied! Planned Parenthood’s facility has been operating in blatant violation of law, making it a legal nuisance, the remedy for which is “abatement.” That means that the facility must be dismantled or sold as a legitimate for-profit medical office facility.
The plaintiffs believe the issues in the case are significant because Planned Parenthood’s alleged deceptions prevented anyone in the City of Aurora (officials or residents) from participating meaningfully in the zoning process required by Aurora ordinance. The zoning ordinance gives Aurora officials and citizens the duty and right, respectively, to evaluate the lawfulness and desirability of new businesses in the community, including any abortion business. Planned Parenthood’s deceitful behavior prevented that evaluation from taking place. Planned Parenthood’s conduct was especially obnoxious because, at the same time it was engaging in a prolonged campaign of lying to the Aurora community, it applied for and received (in its own name since such benefits are available only to non-profits) $8 million in proceeds from tax free bonds from the Illinois Finance Authority, to build its facility. Thus, the plaintiffs argue, not only did Planned Parenthood slap Aurora residents in the face with its deceptions, it did so at their expense! It is to rectify such injustices that the lawsuit was filed, and now will be appealed.