November 08, 2003
Another front in the abortion war

This story really makes me mad.

Construction on Planned Parenthood's South Austin clinic took a hard hit this week when the project's general contractor walked away because of intense pressure from abortion opponents.

Planned Parenthood officials said Browning Construction -- a San Antonio company that is one of the state's largest building contractors -- broke its contract to oversee construction of the 9,931-square-foot clinic.

"They were afraid their business could not survive this project," said Glenda Parks, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region.

In a written statement, company President James Browning said, "We have requested that the construction contract be terminated because we are unable to secure and retain adequate subcontractors and suppliers to complete the project in a timely manner, due to events beyond our control."

Planned Parenthood has not decided whether to take legal action and is exploring its options.


Parks said two other contractors have volunteered to spearhead the construction but wouldn't give their names. Though work on the building has slowed, she said it has not stopped.


Browning's departure comes after hundreds and possibly thousands of people across the country participated in an Austin-led campaign to cripple the project.

In September, Chris Danze -- president of Maldonado & Danze, a concrete construction contractor -- organized a boycott.

"Planned Parenthood is an organization with a health care wrapper, but it is a social movement at its core," he said. It's "a social movement that promotes sexual chaos, especially among our youth. Out of this sexual chaos comes the violence of abortion. That is the heart and soul of this movement."

The 48-year-old Austin man, who said he personally assists women who have troubled pregnancies, persuaded concrete suppliers to boycott the project. He kept a list of companies that worked on the facility, contacted churches and asked pro-life supporters to call the contractors.

Word got out.

News outlets across the country picked up the story, including the Christian Broadcasting Network, Parks said. Hundreds of people called companies working on the clinic.

One contractor received 1,200 calls to his business line, Parks said. Another received several hundred at his home.

Parks said the contractors felt harassed and threatened. Danze said he has told callers to be polite and respectful.

"The calls involved two elements," Danze said. "The first is that it's wrong to build an abortion chamber. The second is that it's bad for future business."

Former Austin Mayor Bruce Todd called that "economic blackmail."

"It's about tyranny," he said. "It's about harassment."

This story was found by The Gunther Concept. Please follow the link to his post and read to the bottom. Gunther suggests a course of action which seems fair and appropriate to me. Check it out and see if you agree.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 08, 2003 to Society and cultcha | TrackBack

Using their own tactics against them is certainly within the bounds, I'd say. If they weren't long distance calls, I'd participate.

Posted by: Linkmeister on November 8, 2003 12:14 PM

I have been so busy between greeting people at Walmarts and cleaning glory holes that I haven't had much time to blog anymore. I can't keep all these NEOCONS at bay alone you know! Swing by the site and say hello. It's up and running again!

Posted by: Barney Gumble on November 8, 2003 8:32 PM

Oh I miss my home there in Texas. I love this story! It is terrific! So glad I dropped by, I will do so again.

Posted by: Janelle on November 9, 2003 1:40 AM

Evangelical conservatives are doing this stuff to Planned Parenthood all the time. They often say they do it in opposition to abortion, but PP has *prevented* far more unwanted pregnancies (and thus avoided the need for abortion) than it has abortions performed.

But symbolism is more important here than pragmatic options that reduce the need for abortions.

Posted by: Tim on November 10, 2003 12:52 PM

i think this is great. i am helping out with the project. thank you so much for getting the word out. the more this thing becomes a loud and talked about controversy, the more no contractor in their right mind will want to touch it!

mark in austin

Posted by: mark on November 12, 2003 5:55 PM

We recently had a clinic built in our community dispite protests and attempts by community leaders to block it's permit. If only the contractors in this case had ignored the dollar signs and looked at ethics like they did in Austin there might not be a clinic here. I wonder if contractors that build these clinics for the sake of business would have done the same for World War 2 extermination camps or for Iraq torture chambers. Weren't those places intended for ridding the world of undesirables and inconveniences.

Posted by: Tom on November 15, 2003 12:07 PM