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Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties (PPOSBC) took legal action against the city of Fontana today, after the Fontana City Council violated the California Constitution by enacting a moratorium on new construction that, based on city-provided information, only impacted PPOSBC’s planned health center while sparing other businesses, including those with ties to City Council members. The City of Fontana’s actions came after a year of painstaking care by PPOSBC to comply with all necessary steps to obtain construction permits for a long-planned Fontana health center.

The lawsuit is one of the first legal challenges against a local government body in California since Proposition 1 (Prop 1) became law. 

Lawyers for PPOSBC noted in the formal complaint filed today that Fontana’s 10-month “Urgency Ordinance” moratorium, enacted on September 5, 2023, is a clear violation of residents’ rights to abortion, contraception, and reproductive health access under Article 1, Section 1.1 of the California Constitution, which were codified into law after voters overwhelmingly passed Prop 1 in November 2022.

Per the lawsuit filing, “Failing to strike this ordinance as unconstitutional and procedurally improper will allow local governments to use their powers to prohibit access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion and contraceptives, in direct violation of this State’s constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms.

PPOSBC President and CEO Jon Dunn issued the following statement after the organization officially filed its formal complaint this afternoon in San Bernardino County Superior Court.

“We did not want to be among the first organizations to file a lawsuit alleging violation of Californians’ constitutional rights under Proposition 1. However, we have chosen to defend the rights of our community members against the city of Fontana, due to their deliberate actions to actively deny their community access to healthcare services. Instead of working in their citizens’ interests, they wasted taxpayer resources on issuing an unconstitutional, procedurally improper moratorium on new construction that exclusively blocks PPOSBC’s health center, despite a clear need in their community for vital health services including cancer screening, STI testing and treatment, and contraception.

“The Fontana City Council’s actions around this “urgency ordinance” are a clear infringement of their citizens’ constitutional rights. These efforts to block construction of a Planned Parenthood health center are not motivated by concern for the health of their citizens, but instead by political pressure from a small, vocal, out-of-touch special interest group that has spread misinformation and pressured City Council members into making policy based on ideology, not facts. 

“The people of Fontana, and the surrounding region in San Bernardino County, should not be denied access to care because the Fontana City Council chose to capitulate to outside pressure from an extremist minority. We look forward to seeing justice served in this case. Meanwhile, we will continue to do what we have done for over 50 years: provide high-quality, affordable, compassionate healthcare to everyone who walks through our doors wherever we are in Orange and San Bernardino Counties.”


PPOSBC began the process of filing necessary paperwork with the city of Fontana for building a long-planned health center in July 2022. For 12 months afterward, PPOSBC adhered to all requirements to obtain a construction permit. On July 12, 2023, PPOSBC received verbal approval from Fontana’s Director of Planning, and then a verbal approval from the city’s engineering department regarding a driveway issue that had been resolved.

But then, on July 25, 2023, the organization received notice that there was suddenly a moratorium on building where the health center was planned. On September 5, 2023 the city council held another meeting extending the moratorium for an additional 10 months and 15 days. Notably, per the filing, the moratorium on construction “exempts properties and geographic areas where certain Respondents [members of the City Council] have personal or financial interests, drawing bizarre and indefensible lines around what falls in or out of the Ordinance’s moratorium.”

By most statistical measures, the Fontana community is medically underserved. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Fontana residents living below the federal poverty level is projected to increase by about 50% over the next decade, indicating that a growing portion of the city’s population is in dire need of affordable or no-cost healthcare. A higher percentage of Fontana citizens (30.5%) are uninsured or on Medi-Cal (the state’s Medicaid program), compared to the rest of California (29.5%). Meanwhile, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), San Bernardino County residents have higher average rates of STIs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea, than the rest of the state or the nation.

All of this indicates a growing need for quality, comprehensive, affordable reproductive healthcare in Fontana. A PPOSBC health center would provide Fontana residents with more than 36,000 medical visits each year, with appointments 7 days a week, and create at least 24 local jobs.

Last year, PPOSBC provided $3 million in health care services to patients across Orange and San Bernardino Counties who were unable to pay, and had over 260,000 medical visits. In addition to abortion care, which is a small but important part of PPOSBC’s work, the organization’s services include cancer screening, birth control including IUDs and vasectomies, breast exams, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy testing, sexual health education and counseling. PPOSBC’s comprehensive primary care arm, Melody Health, also includes an online behavioral health practice.

To learn more about PPOSBC’s work, please visit: www.pposbc.org

To donate to PPOSBC, click here



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