Prayer vigil planned at site of proposed Planned Parenthood clinic

Published Friday, August 26, 2011 on The Oakland Press.

By Ann Zaniewski of The Oakland Press

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Published: 08.26.11| Updated: 08.26.11

Abortion opponents are planning a prayer vigil this weekend outside a building at the center of court battle over a proposed Planned Parenthood clinic.

The vigil begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27 at 1625 N. Opdyke Road in Auburn Hills. Monica Migliorino Miller, director of South Lyon-based Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, said people will gather in a public witness to the sanctity of life and pray that Planned Parenthood doesn’t open a facility there.

Vigil attendees could know as soon as Sept. 7 whether their prayers were answered. On that day, Oakland Circuit Judge James Alexander will hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan.

Planned Parenthood purchased the building on Opdyke in November 2010 to use as a medical office. There is a restrictive covenant on the property that limits its use to “restaurant, retail or office.”

Planned Parenthood contends that putting a clinic on the site does not violate the covenant. But the owners of an adjacent property on which a Comfort Suites Hotel sits believe that it does and threatened to take legal action.

In May, Planned Parenthood sued the owners of the adjacent property, Shri Sai-Krishna Group, L.L.C. The lawsuit accuses them of trying to interfere with its lawful use of the property and of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood have filed a motion for summary disposition and seek a declaration from the judge that the restrictive covenant does not bar it from opening a medical office. Shri Sai-Krishna Group wants the judge to deny Planned Parenthood’s motion and dismiss claims in the lawsuit.

Opponents to the clinic believe abortions will be performed there.

Desiree Cooper, director of Community and Media Relations for Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan, said the organization respects the legal process and everyone’s right to peacefully express their points of view.

“We are awaiting the decision of the judge in this case and fully expect to be able to start serving the people of Oakland County’s essential reproductive health care needs, including life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs, breast health services, pap tests and health counseling,” Cooper said in an emailed statement.

Among the speakers at the vigil will be attorney Rebecca Kiessling, an anti-abortion activist who was conceived through rape and nearly aborted. Joseph Scheidler, the national director of the Pro-Life Action League, will also talk. 

“We have to pray,” Scheidler said via cell phone, taking a break Thursday from praying at a clinic in Chicago. “In this society, we kill over 4,000 human beings every day, children that will never get born. ...

“There’s no question about it, these are human beings. Just like we were, they’re small, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable human beings.”

Planned Parenthood is not planning a counter-demonstration.

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