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Planned Parenthood Settles Lawsuit
Puts Its Building Up for Sale

No Abortion Clinic in Auburn Hills, Michigan
Pro-lifers Cautiously Jubilant
 
Planned Parenthood leases the building on Opdyke Road in Auburn Hills, MI that it hoped to use as an abortion clinic ---  abandoning this site due to the efforts of Citizens for a Pro-life
Photograph by Nicholas Langlois of A Nick-in-Time-Photography
 

A battle that pitted Citizens for a Pro-Life Society (CPLS) and Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan (PPMSM) against each other over PPMSM’s plan to open an abortion facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan has come to an important resolution, favorable to the efforts of pro-lifers, who fought to keep the abortion center from opening. In a completely unexpected move, PPMSM agreed to a new covenant deed restriction with Comfort Inn Suites—an agreement that prevents the abortion provider from doing any abortion procedures in the building it purchased in November 2010 at 1625 N. Opdyke Road in Auburn Hills, Michigan. (See the new deed restriction below) In addition, PPMSM has placed the still gutted building it hoped to turn into an abortion clinic up for lease!

This agreement and the sale of the Opdyke Road property represents an important climax to an18 months-long battle launched by CPLS to prevent PPMSM from opening the abortion business in a building that sits in front of the Comfort Inn Suites hotel whose owners control a 12 year-old deed restriction on the use of the Opdyke Road property and who enforced the restriction against Planned Parenthood. The original deed restriction stipulated that the gutted Opdyke Road property purchased by PPMSM was restricted to retail store, restaurant or office use only. The new restriction signed by PPMSM CEO Lori Lamerand states that the building can be used for medical offices—even out-patient clinics but “clinics providing abortion services will not be permitted.” Pro-lifers believe this includes a ban on the chemical abortion procedure, RU-486.

A Short Summary of this Conflict

Over two years ago, in the April 27, 2010 Detroit News PPMSM publicly announced that it intended to open a “full-service” clinic in Oakland County--a clinic that would offer “abortion services.” In November 2011 CPLS discovered that PPMSM purchased the Auburn Hills building and immediately initiated a campaign in partnership with Central Oakland County Right to Life, to keep PP from providing abortions on the property. On December 6, 2011 nearly 200 Oakland County residents jammed the Auburn Hills City Council meeting to protest the opening of the clinic and demanded city officials do what they could to block abortion procedures from being performed at the Opdyke Road property.

Soon real estate agent Dave Theisen of Real Estate for Life was commissioned by CPLS to function as an investigator for the pro-life group and he interviewed all hotel managers in close proximity to the PP building. These interviews resulted in a discovery of the deed restriction held by the owners of the Comfort Inn Suites under the name Shri Sai-Krishna Group, L.L.C.

The law firm Dykema Gossett, representing PP, knew about the deed restriction and in October 2010 sent a letter to the owners of the Comfort Inn Suites stating that they represented a “potential purchaser” of the Opdyke Road property and that their clients intended to use the building for “medical office purposes.” The letter never disclosed that it was indeed Planned Parenthood who intended to purchase the building or that their so-called medical office would in actuality be an abortion clinic. When CPLS informed the couple who owned the hotel that the purchaser was Planned Parenthood and that they had stated their intention to do abortions, the hotel owners enforced the deed restriction against PPMSM. This prompted PP to sue the hotel over the interpretation of the deed restriction language—in particular whether the term “office” included “medical office” and whether “medical office” also encompassed an “outpatient surgical treatment center” under city codes and Michigan statutes regulating medical facilities.

The Comfort Inn Suites was represented by Cooley Law School professor James Carey. Two hearings took place before Oakland County Judge James Alexander—the first on September 7, 2011, the second on January 10, 2012 at which time Alexander ruled in favor of PPMSM motion that the term “office” in the deed restriction was broad enough to include “medical office.” His ruling left open the question whether “medical office” was also broad enough to include “outpatient surgical treatment center.” Since the beginning of opposition to the clinic, PPMSM would not formally declare exactly what services they intended to perform in the building. The Comfort Inn Suites immediately filed an appeal, guaranteed to stretch-out the court battle for months to come.

During these many months CPLS, joined by Central Oakland County Right to Life (COCRTL) and other pro-life groups organized numerous pickets and other public demonstrations at the Opdyke Road property including a prayer vigil in August 2011 attended by 400 Oakland County residents. In February and March 2011 CPLS and COCRTL organized a county-wide petition drive in protest of the clinic. 11,000 signatures were gathered in 4 weeks time and the petition was presented to the Auburn Hills mayor and city council members during a standing-room-only city council meeting.

 
 
 

Pro-Lifers Cautiously Jubilant and What Does This Mean

Perhaps to avoid a lengthy appeals court process, PPMSM, agreed to a newly-drawn covenant deed restriction with Comfort Inn Suites that will forbid any type of abortion procedure from being performed at the Opdyke Road property. Entering into such an agreement now frees the pro-abortion group to sell the disputed property—which appears to be exactly what has happened. CPLS considers this a huge victory. From the very start, the specific goal of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society was to prevent Planned Parenthood from opening an abortion clinic in the the Opdyke Road building.

Monica Migliorino Miller, director of CPLS states: This was the specific task we had before us, and we prevailed! That Planned Parenthood, one of the largest abortion providers in Michigan, would agree not to perform abortions in this 17,000 square-foot building is a huge victory for the right-to-life cause. The fact that they have been forced to retreat from their plans to turn that building into an abortion center is a huge victory. We prevailed in the specific battle that was before us. We stopped Planned Parenthood from performing abortions at the Opdyke Road property. This is a huge pro-life victory and it may be unprecedented.

“Not only are surgical abortions prohibited on the property but we believe that this prohibits all chemical abortions as well--such as RU-486. Our whole concern right from the start was to keep Planned Parenthood from killing babies at 1625 N. Opdyke Road—and we won. Now the building is up for lease. Planned Parenthood has at least been forced to retreat from their original plan and forced to set up shop somewhere else if that’s what they plan to do. We are not happy that PP may still open some type of facility somewhere else—since this is a pro-death organization that promotes a disordered sexual ethic that leads to abortion—yet that they were prevented from killing babies on Opdyke Road is cause for celebration. This shows what pro-life activists are capable of doing.

While we prevailed in the special battle that was before us—it is quite possible that this conflict is not over. PPMSM was forced to abandon Opdyke Road, but we will be watching them very carefully—as it is possible they will try and erect this abortion center someplace else. And that will be a sad day.

We will be vigilant and watch Planned Parenthood’s future developments.

“Last October we prayed at a vigil in Pontiac: ‘God Spare Us’ and perhaps He has does so.”

“We celebrate this victory for now—but if need be, we remain ready to continue this fight.”

In July of 2012 CPLS will hold a prayer vigil of thanksgiving at the Planned Parenthood building, 1625 Opdyke Road, Auburn Hills, Michigan.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please call:
Monica Migliorino Miller Director of CPLS 248 444-9096
  mmmillerlife@gmail.com  
Dave Theisen Real Estate for Life 224 431-1440
Barb Yagley Central Oakland County Right to Life 248 703-3577
Attorney James Carey Counsel for Comfort Inn 248 605-1103
Attorney Rebecca Kiessling   248 495-2925
Brenda Savage CPLS Petition Drive Chairman 248 410-7386
Diane Fagelman President of LifeSpan of Michigan 248 739-0784
 
New Deed Restriction:      (click to read as .PDF --- much larger)
New Deed Restriction
 

 
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