News Law and Policy

Anti-Choice Activists Lose Zoning Dispute in Illinois

Jessica Mason Pieklo

The fight over an Aurora, Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic inches toward final resolution.

On Thursday, an Illinois judge ruled an Aurora Planned Parenthood facility can stay open, dismissing a lawsuit that alleged the clinic was operating in violation of the city’s zoning laws.

Anti-choice groups like the Pro-Life Action League have been fighting the Aurora Planned Parenthood since 2007, claiming the city failed to follow its own laws in allowing the facility to open. The Thomas More Society law firm, which focuses on religious and anti-choice issues, filed the suit on behalf of the Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood and some residents arguing the city wrongly decided to treat the facility as a medical clinic rather than a nonprofit health center. The court ruled that the City of Aurora’s decision to handle the facility under zoning for a medical clinic instead of that more restrictive zoning for a nonprofit health center was a decision the city could make.

The ruling is the latest to highlight that the legal battles facing abortion advocates extend well beyond laws restricting the procedure and targeting clinics—it extends to rules that prevent clinics from operating to begin with. For instance, anti-choice advocates in Fairfax, Virginia, revamped the city’s zoning laws earlier this summer, forcing the busiest clinic in the state to close.

The Thomas More Society said it will appeal the Aurora decision.

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