How Planned Parenthood was able to build a gigantic abortion clinic in secret

By Dave Andrusko

You could boil a 1,637-word-long story written by Joseph Bustos of the Belleville News-Democrat down to this essential. “A review of the process” by which Planned Parenthood built a mega-abortion clinic in Fairview Heights, Illinois, in utter secrecy

indicates the organization did nothing wrong when it concealed from the world that it planned to open a clinic offering surgical abortions in this city known by many as the retail hub of the Metro East.

“Nothing wrong” might be technically correct, judging by Busto’s overview, but let’s look deeper.

The first question that jumps out at you is this: what does it say that even the contractor apparently did not know he was refurbishing a building for Planned Parenthood!?

The second question is how could this not come in front of the city’s Planning Commission, Zoning Board, or City Council?

The answer to the first question is speculative. The official explanation for the use of a shell company [Raider Ventures LLC] to hide what they were doing at 317 Salem Place was (a) they didn’t want to get “behind schedule,” and (b) fear of those awful pro-lifers who wouldn’t want Planned Parenthood’s smaller abortion clinic located “in a strip mall at the intersection of Illinois 159 and Frank Scott Parkway” with a 16,347 square feet behemoth located “near the Illinois Route 159 exit from I-64.”

So, maybe the explanation is that Planned Parenthood trusted no one not to spill the beans, including the contractor.

But why weren’t the city’s Planning Commission, Zoning Board , or City Council in the know? Simple. The new PPFA facility was being “built in secret in a vacant medical building, which meant it did not need a zoning change that would require a public hearing.”

But what about the “requirement that facilities that perform abortions obtain a license from the state Department of Public Health”? Equally simple answer.

The “Reproductive Health Act, signed into law earlier this year to make access to abortions a fundamental right in the state, formally removed a requirement that facilities that perform abortions obtain a license from the state Department of Public Health,” Bustos explained.

With every “obstacle” removed, all they needed was “a physician who is licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.” No problem. The seemingly omnipresent Dr. Colleen McNicholas, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri,

is licensed as a physician and surgeon in Illinois. Her license in Illinois became active on June 21, according to the department’s website

Yamelsie Rodriguez, the CEO and president of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, huffed and puffed as a way of side-stepping how they had snookered everyone. But the bottom line is what everyone knows it is: this gigantic abortion clinic is located very close to the Missouri border, and Missouri is a very pro-life state, the antithesis of Illinois. Thus

The new clinic doubles the capacity of patients it can see and is expected to draw patients from around the Midwest, including Missouri, where a legal battle continues to wage to keep the state’s only abortion clinic in St. Louis open.