Pastor, principal testify against Planned Parenthood clinic
A showdown over whether to allow a Planned Parenthood clinic to open on South San Francisco’s Grand Avenue moves to the City Council after the Planning Commission voted 6-1 in favor of the clinic.
The pastor of All Souls Parish and the parish school’s principal were among the dozens of South San Francisco and San Mateo residents who spoke against the clinic at the May 2 hearing. Pro-life advocates said they would appeal the permit approval to the city council. More than 1,100 signatures and letters opposing the clinic were submitted to the commission. Close to 200 petition signatures and letters were submitted to the city in favor of the clinic.
“On paper everything looks perfect,” said South San Francisco resident Nora Priego. “But as you can see this room is full of people who are against the opening of the clinic. Therefore, it is not perfect.
“If you open the Planned Parenthood clinic there will be more empty commercial spaces because people are going to take their business elsewhere. This clinic does not belong on Grand Avenue,” Priego said.
Despite original statements saying the clinic would not offer abortion at all, one Planned Parenthood official at the hearing said medication abortion would be among services. Queried about the statement, Planned Parenthood vice president for public affairs Liz Figueroa said the organization is seriously considering adding medication abortion, also known as RU-486. To offer surgical abortion, the clinic would need to remodel again, which would require planning approval but medication abortion would fall within the requested conditional use permit.
Planned Parenthood officials said the clinic will meet the needs of low-income people who need medical care and will do outreach to local schools. “It’s the services that the San Mateo health department has requested,” Figueroa said, telling the commissioners that Planned Parenthood’s name is attractive for those seeking reproductive health care. “Young women of a certain age, that’s where they go,” she said.
Planned Parenthood educators will speak at local schools, Figueroa said. “Most of the time, the schools invite us … to speak about various issues. Yes, they will know we are here.”
Opponents cited ethical opposition to Planned Parenthood’s goals, reminded the commissioners of Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger’s eugenics philosophy and said that they opposed bringing an organization to the downtown area that promotes abortion and believes in providing contraception and abortion to youth.
“We oppose this establishment of this medical clinic on ethical grounds,” said All Souls School principal Vincent Riener.
“Life is sacred. We do not like war because war hurts, maims, kills and destroys life. Abortion is war. It kills babies,” said All Souls pastor Father Agnel De Heredia.
Pro-life San Mateo representative Jessica Munn said the commission’s decision will be appealed to the South San Francisco City Council.
Planning Commissioner Carlos Martin was the lone vote against the Planned Parenthood clinic.
Nationally, Planned Parenthood received $542 million in taxpayer funding in the 2011-12 fiscal year and received $150 million in revenue from the abortions the organization performed, said Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America in a statement recently. Hawkins said 44 percent of abortions are performed on women 18-24 years old.
The ‘South City Pro Life group’ is meeting tonight at All Souls to discuss how to move forward with the appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval allowing Planned Parenthood to open their clinic on Grand Avenue. A second meeting will be held tomorrow night at St. Gregory’s in San Mateo to discuss this further. That meeting will be conducted by the San Mateo Pro Life group.
The next Pro Life demonstration is set for Saturday, May 11, from 9am to 12 noon. This demonstration will once again include Ross Foti along with his parked truck ‘with the huge horrific pictures of aborted babies’.