The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Attacks on women’s clinic near Chicago

Sep 24, 2007

An Illinois judge just blocked the opening of a new women’s health clinic in Aurora, a suburb of Chicago. Aurora city officials had refused a permit to open the clinic and Planned Parenthood, the facility operator, asked the judge to force city officials to let them open.

City officials used the fact that Planned Parenthood had contracted for the facility under the name of Gemini Office Development.

Obviously Planned Parenthood had a good reason to do so. From the moment the Chicago Tribune revealed the name of the building’s tenant, protesters have used physical force to try to stop it from opening. And city officials, giving in to pressures from anti-abortion activists, did nothing to stop the violence.

This battle is taking place in the supposedly liberal state of Illinois, with a Democratic governor and legislature. Aurora officials collapsed in the face of threats of violence from anti-abortion foes despite poll after poll after poll which show that the majority of Americans favor the right for a woman to be able to choose abortion.

This cave-in by politicians deprives one of the fastest growing suburbs in the Chicago area of a very much needed women’s health clinic. Planned Parenthood has provided more than 50,000 clients per year such services in 10 different Chicago area clinics. These services, including contraception, pregnancy testing, adoption referrals, sexual disease screening and abortion, are otherwise not available to many women, especially poor and working class women.

The president of Planned Parenthood, Chicago Area, said, “The fact that people are trying desperately to get appointments [at our clinics] even in the midst of this speaks volumes to the need in this community.”

In the more than 30 years since abortion became legal, those opposing a woman’s right to choose have tried many tactics to intimidate women – often bordering on terrorism. They have used physical violence and even murder to close clinics and scare off doctors. The result is that the vast majority of counties across the United States lack even one single medical facility offering abortions.

Anti-abortionists like to claim they are “pro-life.” It’s their biggest lie.

Planned Parenthood and the millions of supporters of abortion rights are the ones trying to protect women’s lives from the good old days – 35 years ago when many women died in back-alley abortions, thousands died from too many extra births and too little access to contraception, tens of thousands of children – whose parents couldn’t support them – were condemned to abject poverty.

We are not going back to those days – not if women stand up for their rights, including for access to health clinics wherever they live, from Aurora to Alaska.