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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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San Antonio approves Planned Parenthood ‘megafacility’ five times larger than law allows

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, August 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Texas law now requires abortion businesses to have ambulatory service, a basic requirement of all surgical facilities, for the protection of patients. Some abortion businesses closed rather than provide such a basic safeguard for women, even though abortion is a multi-billion-dollar business in the U.S.

Undaunted, Planned Parenthood built a huge facility – with ambulatory service – on Babcock Road in San Antonio, despite zoning laws that limit businesses to "Light Commercial" because of nearby residential neighborhoods.

The zoning laws allow businesses in the area up to 5,000 square feet;  Planned Parenthood's super-abortion center is 22,000 feet.

At Wednesday's meeting of the San Antonio Planning Commission, pro-lifers spoke of their concern for the "megafacility" being so near residential housing.

Area resident Tim Barker said the giant abortion business should never have been allowed to open under its current zoning of C-1 Light Commercial. "Any ambulatory surgical facility shouldn't be able to locate in the area because it's a major commercial business," Barker said.

Barker explained that such a major business "doesn't allow for the type of buffer zone that residential neighborhoods should have."

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San Antonio's development department explained at the meeting that the building was constructed before 2010, when the 5,000 square-foot limit was imposed.  However, the Planned Parenthood megacenter was approved well after the space limit was law.

Texas Right to Life Director of External Relations Melissa L. Conway said the Planned Parenthood building "is clearly outside the boundaries of that zoning law," and should not have been granted an occupancy permit.

"City council members, the mayor, and lawmakers of San Antonio have remained complicit with Planned Parenthood throughout the zoning process," Conway charged, "and permitted the mega-business abortion provider to operate as if they were a small sized company."

Conway warned that such a large abortion center "jeopardizes the lives of thousands of pre-born Texas babies, but also the health and safety of women."

Rod Sanchez, director of San Antonio's development services, noted that there is no definition for "ambulatory surgical center" in the city's Unified Development Code. "We believe [an ambulatory surgical center] is closely aligned with a clinic, and a clinic is allowed under C-1."

Dr. Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, noted, "Planned Parenthood runs the largest chain [of abortion businesses], with five enormous facilities in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, each with enormous capacity."

"Clearly, Planned Parenthood is committed to abortion," Dr. Pojman observed.

The San Antonio planning commission voted to refer the issue to its "Technical Advisory Committee," which will issue a recommendation, and then the City Council can vote on the recommendation, perhaps by the end of the year.

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