AP NEWS

Pro-life Group Sends Letters As Planned Parenthood Seeks New Location

November 20, 2018

WILKES-BARRE — As Planned Parenthood looks for a new location in Wilkes-Barre and has been exploring offering abortions in the area, pro-life activists have taken measures to try to stop it.

Denton, Texas-based pro-life organization Life Dynamics Inc. has mailed letters to area Realtors labeled as an “important warning.”

The letters inform Realtors they should be aware that “property owners find that leasing to operations such as this is a very negative experience.”

The letters also state that property owners can encounter a host of issues including “strong objections by other tenants to being linked by association with abortionists” as well as “boycotts or protests of businesses owned by people who lease to abortionists.”

Mark Crutcher, who founded the pro-life organization Life Dynamics Inc., said he mailed the letters after reading the news that the Kirby Health Center board notified Planned Parenthood that its lease would not be renewed at the end of this year at 63 N. Franklin St. in Wilkes-Barre. The family planning agency received this letter after informing the board it was exploring offering abortion services.

“We want to alert (Realtors) that these people are not always honest with them,” Crutcher said during a telephone interview on Monday. “They may say it’s for a doctor’s office, a medical clinic or a women’s clinic and then they lease it to them to find out it’s an abortion clinic and very often, the land owner is very opposed to abortions. They never wanted their facility to be used for that purpose but they signed the lease and it’s too late.”

Property owners also can find insurance companies drop coverage or raise premiums due to a perceived increase in the risk of arson and other types of property damage and other issues could occur as well such as lowered property values and difficulty in leasing nearby properties, according to the letters his organization sent.

“We want to make sure when people are approached that they know exactly what they’re getting into,” Crutcher said.

Crutcher founded Life Dynamics Inc. in 1992 and its mission is to end legalized abortion in America and restore legal protection to the unborn, according to its website.

During a phone interview Monday, Crutcher said he believes abortion is “cold-blooded murder.”

“Just because you make something legal, it doesn’t change the nature of what it is,” he said.

Betty Caffrey, president of another pro-life organization, Pennsylvanians for Human Life Wyoming Valley Chapter in Wilkes-Barre, said her organization is working on setting up a meeting with the Diocese of Scranton’s Bishop Joseph Bambera about Planned Parenthood looking for a new location and exploring abortions.

The last time an abortion clinic tried to open in Wilkes-Barre, Caffrey said her organization worked together with former Bishop James Timlin and gathered a petition with about 103,000 signatures from people opposing an abortion clinic.

“We don’t want a killing center in our area,” Caffrey said.

The Wilkes-Barre Planned Parenthood currently refers women seeking abortions to the closest provider in Allentown, which is more than 60 miles away, said Casey Roncoroni, senior director of development for Planned Parenthood Keystone.

She said Planned Parenthood is searching for a new location in Wilkes-Barre where services are needed but nothing has been finalized. She said any future determination about offering abortions “will be made only after we secure a new location.”

As pro-life organizations oppose Planned Parenthood’s proposal to explore offering abortions and its current abortion referral services, pro-choice activists are planning a rally Saturday, Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre in support of Planned Parenthood.

A Facebook post announcing the Planned Parenthood support rally states, “It has become increasingly clear to us men and women of Wilkes-Barre that the attacks on our reproductive rights and health care have caused Planned Parenthood’s office to be removed from the Kirby Health Center — its location for 84 years.”

“We have also been made aware that local pro-life groups such as Pennsylvanians for Human Life have decided to vehemently attack Planned Parenthood and try to keep us from all services they provide in Wilkes-Barre to further their pro-life agenda,” the Facebook post says. “We will not stand for these attacks on reproductive rights and we will gather together.”

Pro-choice activist Kara Dooner of West Pittston, who plans to attend the rally on Saturday, said she doesn’t agree with the letters that the pro-life organization sent to Realtors and it’s a way of “stepping on a people’s toes.”

She said the deal should be between a property owner and the tenant without a third party “trying to prevent a business from operating.”

“Being that (abortion) is legal, there should be nothing against where they operate,” Dooner said.

Dooner said she is participating in Saturday’s rally because she supports women’s rights. She also said she is concerned because Planned Parenthood offers many other services including birth control, HIV testing, LGBT services, women’s and men’s health care, the morning after pill, pregnancy testing and services, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, testing and treat for urinary tract infections and vaccines.

“Planned Parenthood does so much more and the health of everyone is being compromised,” she said. “Instead of putting their resources towards patients, now they are putting all their time and money into relocating instead.”

Contact the writer:

dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2115, @CVAllabaugh

AP RADIO
Update hourly