Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Real Estate of Abortion Politics

In case you haven't been following the news in Aurora, Ill, there is a situation where Planned Parenthood built a brand-new clinic that was to open Tuesday. Unfortunately the city got cold-feet and decided (long after the building was built and everything was good to go) to deny a permanent occupancy license. Planned Parenthood took the city to federal court to try to force them to open, but on September 21 the judge refused to grant them temporary permission to open. (The case is still pending).

This article in the local Beacon News shows how the anti-abortion groups are just crowing about their success which they hope to duplicate all over the country now.

I've been covering this over at my other blog, Real Women, Real Voices.

But Ann Friedman at The American Prospect has a good article up about the issues of real estate in reproductive rights.

Plus, I almost feel like I can't stress this enough, Planned Parenthood offers more services than just abortion. They also offer birth control, gynecological care, STI/STD testing and treatment, and family planning which includes pregnancy testing. It drives me up the wall when newspapers, like The Washington Post, feel free to casually label them "abortion clinics" as if that is the only service they provide. My understanding is that its not even the majority of what most PP's do. They probably write more prescriptions for birth control in a week than perform abortions in a year. Or something like that. Why not call them "birth control clinics" instead then, it would be a more accurate moniker.


Anonymous said...

Why not dub them, "Eugenics Retail Stores"?

Jim in Cleveland

Anonymous said...

your story reminds me of:

Dr. Oyer had trouble finding a place to have a clinic in the very conservative* city of Seattle, in the very conservative state* of Washington.


Anonymous said...

:-jon, This article heartens me a little. Outside of the Fair Housing Act, landlords have a right to rent to whomever they want. If Michael Vick came to a landlord saying he wanted to rent a place to have dogfighting, the landlord has every right to say they do not approve of the way dogs are treated, and decline to rent. In Dr. Oyer's case, landlords have the right to say they do not approve of the way unborn babies are treated. If a landlord were to have no moral feelings about dogfighting, perhaps he or she would decline to rent on the basis that society DOES have a position on the issue. Even in Starbucksville, landlords understand that not everyone believes doctors should be proud to be leading abortions providers.

Jim in Cleveland

NewsCat said...

But, even in your mind, isn't there a difference between a landlord deciding not to rent to a business verses an activist setting out to make themselves that business' landlord for the precise reason of shutting them down.

This person has no intention of being a "landlord" at all. What they want is to shut down abortion clinics which is the only reason they bought the property.

Jim I don't understand why you think that the ends always justify the means when it comes to "stopping" abortion. Notice that anti-abortion groups aren't very good at convincing WOMEN they don't want to have abortions, they can only force them to give birth.

It's like its a war of ideas but one side decided they want to make it a real war by adding weapons. It seems to me if you really hated abortion you should be able to convince people not to have them, not to take away their ability to do it. Because, lest anyone forget, abortions always occur, even in places where its illegal.

Anonymous said...


I do not believe the ends justifies the means. I am not a fan of some of the more militant tactics of the pro-life movement. And I agree that the way to stop abortion is to convince the women and the doctors.

But some positions die hard. It would have been nice to say that slavery could have ended by convincing the slaveholders in the antebellum South, but we know it didn't work out that way. But I don't think that Paul Hill was any more right that John Brown.

Still, it is an uphill battle to "convince" women abortion is wrong. Stats show that it is happening though. Abortions are on a decline in every state since Roe. A Zogby poll of a few years ago showed that a majority of Americans see abortion as homicide. Perhaps you might share Martha Burke's skepticism, but some polls show women to be more pro-life than men.

I was commenting more on :-jon's article than on your example. You have to look at it from the other side--if you really believe abortion is homicide, than a landlord denying the use of his property for abortions is not the ends justifying the means. There is nothing inherently immoral in buying a building, for whatever reason. Therefore, there is no need to justify the means here. This, obviously, is different than murdering abortionists, or physically or psychologically threatening anyone to deter them from having an abortion.

Rachel, I believe you win more people over with beer than with vinegar (to paraphrase an old saying), so I agree with your premise that there is a difference between refusing your building to be used for abortion and buying a building to shut down a ,ahem, birth control clinic.

Jim in Cleveland

Anonymous said...

I thought abortions were on the decline because access to and education about birth control were improving, due in large part to Planned Parenthood. The majority of women would agree that they personally do not WANT to get an abortion, and many probably feel it is murder, but there are times when birth control fails, and it is the better option of many sad, life changing choices. Even abortion rights groups are changing their tactics to stress the importance of preventing the need for abortions in the first place, but the world is a pretty sticky place when pharmacists refuse to fill birth control pill prescriptions because it is against their beliefs.

And you may be able to win many over with beer, but Rachel will never be one of them ;) Perhaps a fruity wine cooler?


Anonymous said...

I am sure there are a number of reasons for the decrease in abortion. But I don't let you off so easy when you say that some women may believe abortion to be murder, then go with it because it is the best of several bad options. That seems pretty scary to me. If you believe the fetus is nothing but tissue, fine. But if you believe it is a person, it is not the best of bad options, no matter how bad the choices are. To turn the tables on Newscat, the end (not having to raise a child alone, with poverty, missing career chances, etc.) doesn't justify the means (abortion).

I believe one reason for the drop in abortion is that more women, and their male partners, have been educated as to what the fetus is, specifically, not just tissue--you know the stuff we pro-life nutjobs throw out there: fetus sucks thumb at 8 weeks, can blink eyes at 10 weeks, can put their hands over their ears when mom plays Barry Manilow at 16 weeks, etc. If more and more women believe abortion IS killing the baby, no matter how many times they go see The Cider House Rules, they are gonna think twice.

Jim in Cleveland