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Planned Parenthood drops plans for Auburn Hills clinic (Detroit News)

Published June 21, 2012 by The Detroit News.

By Lauren Abdel-Razzaq of The Detroit News.

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Published: 06.21.12| Updated: 06.22.12

Auburn Hills —After a legal fight of more than a year, Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan has decided not to open an Auburn Hills clinic, settling a related lawsuit and putting the property up for sale.

"With the April opening of our health center in Ferndale, we have already met our goal of establishing an Oakland County presence," the group's CEO, Lori Lamerand, said in a statement. "It's not a good use of our donors' resources to spend money on frivolous litigation rather than meeting the desperate health care needs of women, men and teens of Oakland County."

Lamerand was not available for comment.

Planned Parenthood bought the 17,000-square-foot building at 1625 N. Opdyke Road in November 2010.

The proposed clinic was a source of tension in the community, with groups opposed to abortion conducting several protests at the site because they believed the procedure would be conducted there.

The group hadn't determined what services would be offered at the clinic, said Desiree Cooper, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan.

"We do not offer all of our services at all of our health centers. It just depends on the community and the need, and we hadn't made that assessment," she said.

The building and an adjacent property, which includes a Comfort Suites Hotel, were owned by the same company at one point. That company, Shri Sai-Krishna Group, argued that a covenant on the site limited its use to "restaurant, retail or office usage," barring Planned Parenthood from opening a clinic

In May 2011, Planned Parenthood sued Shri Sai-Krishna.

In a January decision, Oakland County Circuit Judge James M. Alexander ruled the hotel owners didn't have the authority to prevent the clinic from opening and granted Planned Parenthood a partial summary judgment.

Cooper said the terms of the settlement are confidential.

"It's a good settlement, and we're pleased," said James L. Carey, an attorney for Shri Sai-Krishna.

The deed on the property has been amended to restrict any medical clinics that perform abortions, according to a document filed with Oakland County. The document was signed by Lamerand and applies through 2017.

"Office uses shall include medical offices or outpatient clinics, including offices for doctors, dentists, chiropractors, osteopaths and similar or allied professionals, but 24-hour emergency care facilities, bedded hospitals or clinics providing abortion procedures shall not be permitted," the amendment states.

Monica Migliorino Miller, director of the Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, said she is extremely pleased with the settlement. Her organization was one of the groups that protested outside the clinic.

"Our goal for almost two years was to keep Planned Parenthood from setting up an abortion clinic out of Auburn Hills," said Miller. "The fact that we could thwart the efforts of Planned Parenthood wanting to set up this clinic is extremely significant."

The clinic in Ferndale, which opened in April, does not offer abortions, but rather contraception, annual exams, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, cancer screenings and other preventive services.

Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan has 17 facilities in Michigan, with four clinics offering abortions, officials said. Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan operates an additional eight health centers. Planned Parenthood said 97 percent of the services are preventive health care.

The building on Opdyke Road has been listed on the website of real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle with an asking price of more than $1.1 million, but it also could be leased.

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