Thursday, January 29, 2015

Using Land Use Rules (and Intimidation) to Block an Abortion Clinic

Cosmo runs a story about the troubles that Planned Parenthood has encountered while trying to build up a new clinic in New Orleans:

Over the past several years, Louisiana passed a series of abortion restrictions. But one change that flew under the media radar was to the administrative code, requiring any proposed abortion clinic construction to have a "Facility Need Review" (FNR) approved by the Department of Health. Before 2012, FNRs applied to inpatient health care facilities funded largely by Medicare and Medicaid — nursing homes, hospices — and basically required that, before constructing one of those facilities, the owner demonstrate that it was needed in the area, to cut down on potentially wasteful public spending. No other outpatient medical facilities are specifically required to get FNRs, and Medicaid doesn't cover abortion care in Louisiana.

Planned Parenthood applied for an FNR in October 2014, the first clinic to apply since the abortion-specific FNR law was enacted. The Department of Health rejected the request, saying Planned Parenthood "failed to establish the probability of serious, adverse consequences to recipients' ability to access outpatient abortion services" — because there wasn't enough evidence to show that there would be grave consequences for women if the clinic doesn't perform abortions, the clinic cannot perform abortions.

[...] In September, Planned Parenthood held a community meeting to offer information on the clinic and invited local construction firms, particularly woman- and minority-owned businesses, to see if any of them might be interested in bidding on a contract. Anti-abortion activists were there, taking pictures and posting them online with the heading, "Here are more faces who attended the Planned Parenthood strategy meeting to kill babies," and telling readers, "If you are local and recognize any of these people, please implore them not to take Planned Parenthood's blood money." According to a blog post by anti-abortion activist Jill Stanek, who does not live in Louisiana but participated in the online campaign to dissuade contractors from working on the project, "Planned Parenthood asking minorities to help build abortion clinics is akin to having Jews build gas chambers."

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