Aurora, Illinois has become ground zero in the fight for women’s access to reproductive health care.

Last Thursday a federal judge denied Planned Parenthood’s request for an injunction that would have allowed its new clinic in Aurora to open as scheduled. The city of Aurora has refused to allow the new facility to begin operating until it completes an investigation into how the clinic obtained building permits. The refusal came after hundreds of anti-abortion activists rallied outside the facility and crowded into city hall meetings to oppose the clinic.

Ann Friedman offers the most succinct and accurate summary of events I’ve found in an excellent piece at the American Prospect Online:

“Hoping to avert the kinds of protests that kept other new abortion clinics from opening (like when a contractor backed out of building a new Planned Parenthood facility in Austin in 2003), Planned Parenthood applied for the building permits under the name of a subsidiary, Gemini Office Development LLC. They disclosed to the planning and zoning board that the building would be occupied by a medical office, but did not specify it would be an abortion provider.

After anti-choice activists discovered that the new medical office building in Aurora was to be a reproductive health clinic, they sounded a clarion call to keep the facility from opening. Under pressure from the anti-choice movement, the city denied Planned Parenthood’s occupancy permit. And yesterday, a judge declined to grant a temporary occupancy permit, meaning the new clinic (which was supposed to open on Tuesday) will remain shuttered. At the hearing, the Aurora city attorney argued that this is about land use and permit regulations — not about restricting abortion access. Planned Parenthood lawyers responded, ‘We wouldn’t be here if this was a foot care clinic.'”

The ruling has forced Planned Parenthood to cancel thirteen appointments that were scheduled for today. “Although the case is still open, today’s decision prevents access to important health care services that the new clinic would offer including sexually transmitted disease treatment, breast cancer screening, and abortion care,” said Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation.

Check out this video to hear why many residents of Aurora are desperate for the clinic.

After watching go to the PP Aurora site for ideas on other actions to take:

** Sign a petition affirming the clinic’s right to open and operate.
**Donate your time, email volunteer@ppca.org for more information.
**E-mail the Aurora City Council
**E-mail a Letter to the Editor
**Request a “This Family Supports Planned Parenthood” yard sign
**Make a donation to support Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is also asking people to call Aurora’s Mayor and City Council to insist that they allow Planned Parenthood to serve the women of Aurora by opening the clinic.

Mayor Tom Weisner’s office: (630) 844-3612
Aurora City Council: (630) 844-3619
Aurora City Hall: (630)264-4636

What’s happening in Aurora today is not an isolated situation. It’s part of a continuing war on women’s access to abortion services across our country. Planned Parenthood is on the battlefield organizing the counter-attack and it needs all the support it can get.