The five-year battle has not been violent, but metal detectors are on the way and Planned Parenthood officials say they have spent more for security than they used to spend to build a clinic like this. Although it took three federal injunctions to defeat the opposition, leaders are thrilled with Friday's grand opening.
"The Quad cities of Iowa and Illinois were the largest metropolitan area in the United States without an abortion provider," said Jill June, the president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa. "We felt compelled to come here, and now our dreams are being realized."
However, Right to Life forces have bought the property directly across the street and filled it with potent symbols.
"The crosses represent the 4,000 children whose lives are lost every day in the United States of America," says Luana Stoltenberg.
|Jill June, president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa.|
Stoltenberg and her group don't feel they've lost anything.
"We've stalled them for five years," she says. "It's cost them a lot more money, and we're still here. We're here. If we save one child or help one women, we haven't lost - we've won."
Already, Carla Kelly has signed up to be the clinic's very first patient, since it offers a variety of services.
"It's a place you'll want to go and know those people will support you in every way they can," Kelly says.
But opponents want pregnant women, when they drive up, to be faced with a choice. That's why they have plans to build a $1.2 million facility directly across the street.
|The new Planned Parenthood clinic in Bettendorf, Iowa.|
Clarence Murphy claims the clinic, which was scheduled to open Thursday at 10 a.m., is violating a covenant that says "no obnoxious or offensive trade" be done in the development.
"It's a private nuisance to have abortions there," Murphy's attorney, Jim Clancy of La Tuna Canyon, Calif., said Wednesday. "The property owner says this is what is known as offensive rade, which is prohibited under the covenant."
Murphy, who owns an apartment building near the clinic, tried to intervene last year in federal court but failed.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Scott County District Court in Davenport, names Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa, the city of Bettendorf and Middle Road Investors, Inc., as defendants.
Additionally, the lawsuit contends that a U.S. District Court ruling in February 1998 was wrong when it prohibited Bettendorf from using any zoning law to block the clinic.
The federal court had no jurisdiction to overturn the City Council's decision to deny a proposed zoning change, the lawsuit claims.
"He hasn't been able to prevail before, and I don't know if anything is different today," Bettendorf Mayor Ann Hutchinson said Wednesday. "I anticipate the clinic will open as planned."
Clancy, who has not asked for a court hearing, said the lawsuit would not impede the clinic's opening.
The timing of the lawsuit could not be helped because it had to be on file before the clinic received a permanent occupancy certificate, he said. The clinic received the certificate late Wednesday afternoon, Bettendorf City Attorney Greg Jager said.
"Bettendorf is going to have to decide what its obligation is. If they let it open now, they will be, in effect, permitting abortions and infanticide," Clancy said.