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Planned Parenthood seeks judge's help to open
Agency wary of Aurora after city says it can't open yet
By Marni Pyke | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/14/2007 12:31 AM

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Planned Parenthood Thursday asked a federal judge to ensure its proposed opening next week of a women's health clinic in Aurora goes forward.

The clinic will provide a variety of services, such as mammograms and gynecological exams. But the fact it also will offer abortions has sparked vocal opposition as well as support.

Planned Parenthood leaders accused Aurora officials of delaying the clinic's scheduled start date Tuesday and asked the court to issue an injunction allowing the opening to proceed.

After complaints Planned Parenthood evaded identifying itself in planning applications, the city is investigating how the agency received approval in November to build the clinic.

It was anticipated the review would finish by Tuesday. But because a new attorney was appointed to conduct the probe, city officials notified Planned Parenthood early this week the review would take longer than anticipated and the agency would not be allowed to open the clinic until it was complete.

Planned Parenthood CEO Steve Trombley charged the city was bowing to pressure from anti-abortion activists. "It's time to put patients before politics," he said. "We no longer have faith in the (city's) review."

Aurora is prepared to defend its actions in court, city spokesman Carie Anne Ergo said.

She noted the city has not taken any positions in the abortion debate and is simply reviewing the building application process to ensure everything was proper.

"The city is trying to move as expeditiously as possible," Ergo said.

At issue are permit applications for the project listing Gemini Office Development as the property developer and in one case stating the tenant is "unknown."

Trombley noted it wasn't unusual for a project to be proposed under a developer's name. He said the agency had concerns about alerting the anti-abortion camp, which has a "history of harassment and intimidation."

"We have no regrets. We have to put safety first," Trombley said.

Eric Scheidler, a spokesman for Chicago's Pro-Life Action League countered that Planned Parenthood "lied about who they were."

"Planned Parenthood is clearly afraid of being guilty of defrauding the city of Aurora," he said.

"They're trying to stop our city from investigating the dubious way they sneaked in."

Meanwhile, patients are already scheduled for appointments, Trombley said, adding that the clinic will provide health care to an under-served area.