Illinois action blog

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area Calls on City of Aurora to Release Reports by Luetkehans, Martens

CHICAGO – Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area today called on the City of Aurora to release reports prepared by two outside attorneys into the permitting process for its new health center at the same time they are forwarded to yet another attorney chosen by the City to look into the matter.

The City Council on Tuesday night asked Kane County State’s Attorney John Basanti to review reports by attorneys Richard Martens and Phillip Luetkehans regarding the permitting process. Martens, one of Illinois’ most respected municipal law experts, was dismissed by the Council late last month and replaced by the Itasca-based Luetkehans, who has been active in Republican Party politics in DuPage County.

It’s not known when Luetkehans will complete his review, and no deadlines have been established, although City officials have suggested they expect it within days.

Steve Trombley, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area (PP/CA), said whatever the two outside attorneys have found to date, including documentation provided to them, should be released to the public before being transmitted to Barsanti.

“We’ve all waited long enough. All parties involved in this dispute deserve to know what these two outside attorneys found. Like everybody else involved in this matter, we want to know what these outside legal reviews have determined,” said Trombley.

“How long do we have to wait? This seems to be the never-ending review by the City,” Trombley said. “In the meantime, the women of Kane, DuPage, Kendall and Will counties are waiting for our health center to open and provide vitally needed reproductive care services.”

He said this additional layer of legal review by the Kane County State’s Attorney supports PPCA’s contention, in its request for a federal court order allowing the Aurora health center to open, that the City’s review is “both undefined in scope and indefinite in nature.”

“Absent intervention by the federal court, Planned Parenthood may never be able to operate its facility in Aurora,” Trombley said, echoing language in the legal documents filed September 13 in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

On a separate but related matter, Trombley noted that anti-Planned Parenthood extremists in Colorado are now picketing the homes of executives for the construction company building a Planned Parenthood health center near Denver. In a posting on a Web site put up by the anti-Planned Parenthood group, its leader compares the facility to a Nazi concentration camp, and warns, “We will not stand by and let one of America’s largest construction companies build a Planned Parenthood death camp in tranquility.”

Trombley said those kinds of threats and use of extreme and inflammatory rhetoric, as well as the protests now going on outside the Aurora center, provide all the evidence needed to underscore the validity of PP/CA’s low-key approach during construction of the facility.
“We did everything we were legally required to do with the City of Aurora to get this building properly permitted. But it should come as no surprise to anybody that we took a low-key approach with the public during this process. Look no further for validation of that approach than what’s now happening out in Colorado, and the aggressive tactics of anti-choice forces here in Illinois,” Trombley said.
Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area will be back in U.S. District Court Thursday morning for a hearing on its request that Judge Charles Norgle issue a preliminary injunction that would allow the health center to open while the City conducts its legal review. The center was scheduled to open on September 18, but that has been put on hold pending resolution of the case now before Judge Norgle.

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