Posted by Eric Scheidler on Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
Tonight the Aurora City Council will vote on an ordinance (PD07.012) that would restrict abortions from being performed at 523 W. Galena Boulevard—the site of the notorious "Jakubowski" abortuary.
The new owner of the building, who is pro-life, wants to rent the building to a general practice doctor, which requires a special use permit. He has asked the council to grant that permit with a proviso that abortions cannot be performed there.
I will live-blog the meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. This ordinance is the second item under "unfinished business" and seven or eight neighbors who were involved in the pro-life witness at the old abortuary will speak in favor of it. Tune in then . . .
6:05 p.m. The Council is gathering. No sign of Mayor Weisner yet. Quite a number of the public here this evening, apparently for a variety of issues.
I see that Alderman-at-Large Bob O'Connor has taken the mayor's seat, so apparently Weisner will be absent. O'Connor calls the meeting to order with a reference to Abraham Lincoln's 199th birthday. The Pledge and a prayer by Whitey Peters (the usual "chaplain" of the council, Shakita Hart-Burns, is absent today).
6:10 p.m. Now a motion to approve the items on the consent agenda. With these items approved, the council will move on to the unfinished business. Again, the ordinance we're concerned with is the second item.
Our item is now up. O'Connor announces that members of the public will speak on this issue.
Dave Wade is the first speaker. He shares his experience as a pro-life witness at the old Galena abortion facility, and how its presence in that nice neighborhood made him shudder, just driving by. Dave refers to Hannah Arendt's phrase "the banality of evil"—how wickedness can become "part of the landscape".
But if man can redeem himself, then perhaps a building can be redeemed too. He applauds Dr. Sanchez for wanting to publicly assure the neighborhood that there will be no resumption of abortions at 523 W. Galena Blvd.
6:15 p.m. Jerry Nickels thanks the council and staff for the openness and responsibility they have exhibited in this matter, and then contrasts it with the situation at 3051 E. New York Street, where no such open process took place. Jerry looks forward to the day when abortions will end there (at Planned Parenthood) too, and it will revert to its original stated purpose as a regular medical facility.
Karen Nickels now speaks about the impact that the presence of an abortuary had on the west side, the protests, the disruption of traffic, the impact such an inappropriate location had on the women who entered it. She too draws a link to the east side abortuary.
6:20 p.m. Rob Larsen now speaks about living near the abortion facility for eight years and the negative impact of the place on so many women and men. He applauds the council for being open to working with Dr. Sanchez in this way, and how it shows the benefit of working openly.
Now Elizabeth Earl shares he experience with the Jakubowski facility: passersby swearing from their cars, fist fights among visitors to the clinic in the parking lot, a women dragged across the street by clinic escorts for an abortion she didn't want (and was saved from by Elizabeth's call to the police). Elizabeth now lives near this building and does not want an abortion facility in her neighborhood.
6:25 p.m. Roger Earl encourages the council to support this voluntary restriction on this property from an economic standpoint: negating the stigma of abortion can only help the neighborhood and the value of this property.
Deacon Tom Hawksworth from Holy Angels Church again presents the spiritual and sociological harms of abortion on the neighborhood.
And now attorney Waide Royner (sp?) presents him self on behalf of Ray Gonzalez, the property owner, to answer any questions the Council may have. There are no questions, but Alderman Lawrence offers his praise for Mr. Gonzalez throughout this whole process.
6:30 p.m. The ordinance is passed 10-0. This building at 523 W. Galena has been approved for use as a medical office with a restriction that abortions cannot be performed there. Thus this chapter of the abortion battles of Aurora closes.