AUBURN HILLS, MICHIGAN, January 10, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – This morning, a Michigan judge ruled that Planned Parenthood may open a new facility in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, because its business qualifies as an “office.”
Oakland County Circuit Judge James Alexander ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan, which has been locked in a property dispute with a neighboring hotel for more than a year.
Comfort Inn Suites, which owns an adjacent property, entered into a restrictive covenant to limit the property’s use to a “restaurant, retail or office.”
Planned Parenthood claimed its business fit that definition. However, the other side argued in court, “The zoning code of Auburn Hills itself distinguishes between ‘medical office’ and ‘office’ by its own terms and, thereby, directly supports defendant’s position.”
This morning, Judge Alexander agreed with Planned Parenthood. “In this case, plaintiff has the legal right to use the property as a medical office,” he ruled.
“We are filled with great sorrow and disappointment today,” Monica Migliorino Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, said in a statement. “Judge Alexander’s ruling will lead to the killing of innocent human life when Planned Parenthood opens the doors of this clinic. We worked hard to stop the spread of abortion’s injustice and hoped to spare Auburn Hills this place of death, lies, and sorrow. We are sorry that the hotels in the direct vicinity of the Planned Parenthood building may have to share their business environment with the sordid practice of abortion.”
“I thought that the hotel owners had a good argument,” Rebecca Kiessling, http://rebeccakiessling.com a pro-life lawyer who was conceived in rape, told LifeSiteNews.com. “The whole point of deed restrictions is to protect adjacent property owners. I’m sure they thought they were protected when…they first purchased their own property over a decade ago. I hope they prevail on appeal.”
In late November 2010 Planned Parenthood purchased the 17,050 sq. ft. facility, located at 1625 N. Opdyke Road in Auburn Hills.
The owner of the Comfort Inn Suites, Shri Sai-Krishna Group, LLC, instantly objected, and the property became the site of protests featuring hundreds of people, organized by Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, the Pro-Life Action League, Central Oakland Right to Life, and others.
“We don’t know if we are even going to perform abortions there,” claimed Lori Lamerand, CEO of Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan in December 2010. The abortion provider countersued the hotel owner, Shri Sai-Krishna Group, LLC, in May.
Lamerand insists they still have not determined whether they will perform abortions at the new clinic. After the ruling she told a local newspaper, “We’re full speed ahead to try and make sure that Oakland County residents get the health care they need.”
Family advocates in the area are concerned about the change this facility will bring to their community. Kiessling said, “My family law practice was two doors down from where this abortion clinic is set to open, so I know the people of this community. It’s…a primarily Hispanic/African-American community. There are two junior colleges and one university within a mile or two from this location.”
“I hope the good people of my community will offer more support to Crossroads Pregnancy Center of Auburn Hills so that they can open a satellite location or move their location across the street from Planned Parenthood,” she said.
Pro-life forces vow they will not back down. “I know that the Comfort Inn hotel will appeal this case,” said Miller. “And we remain undaunted. We will continue to fight the opening of this death center—and be a voice for those innocent unborn who cannot speak for themselves.”
Last month, the state of Michigan canceled a $200,000 grant to build the facility.
Judge Richard Alexander
1200 N. Telegraph Rd., Pontiac, MI