City council blocks crisis pregnancy center from working out of its own building
RALEIGH, North Carolina, July 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The Raleigh City Council rejected Tuesday a request from a crisis pregnancy center to provide counseling services and support for women at its own property located next door to an abortion business.
Hand of Hope Pregnancy Resource Centers purchased property last year on Jones Franklin Road and requested a zoning allowance for commercial use. The pro-life charity sought to reduce its budget by relocating from rented office space a mile away.
Hand of Hope operates as Your Choice Pregnancy Clinic, helping women, educating, informing them about their pregnancy, and encouraging alternatives to abortion.
Even though the City Planning Commission gave its unanimous approval, the city council voted down the routine request, 7-0.
The only explanation came from Councilwoman Kay Crowder, who said Hand of Hope should rezone as part of a larger commercial project to fit in with the city's future land use. “This coordinated approach would produce a more efficient use of the land,” she said. “In contrast, this lot-by-lot, piecemeal, non-residential development will produce small scale offices on small lots.”
Tonya Baker Nelson, Hand of Hope's executive director, said, “From all our research, it looked like our request fit right into (the city’s development guidelines) and we were following all the rules laid out for us, step by step."
Abortion activists praised the city council for rejecting the crisis pregnancy center. “The Raleigh City Council stood up for women in our city,” Raleigh resident Leigh Sanders told the News Observer.
The nearby abortion facility, Preferred Women’s Health Center, has been the site of protests and demonstrations from pro-life and abortion advocates. In 2015 alone, 26 groups received protest permits at the location.
Baker said her organization doesn't participate in the protests or demonstrations.
Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey told LifeSiteNews, "The city council has certainly chosen an interesting place to draw the line in its newly announced zoning plan — right on the property line of an abortion clinic that takes the lives of hundreds of preborn children each year."
"Your Choice Pregnancy Clinic offers women exactly that: a chance to make the healthiest choice for themselves and their precious children," she added. "Every woman deserves love and support during an unexpected pregnancy, and that is what Your Choice offers through free services like ultrasounds, STI testing, peer counseling, and vital educational programs."
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