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South San Francisco pro-lifers continue battle to block clinic

December 3, 2015
Valerie Schmalz

Pro-life activists continue to block Planned Parenthood from opening a building on Grand Avenue in South San Francisco – despite having lost every legislative and legal battle since 2013.

“For two and half years we have managed to block Planned Parenthood from entering South San Francisco. We are currently on our third appeal,” said Rosa Gomez, All Souls parishioner and organizer of Respect Life South San Francisco. The latest appeal was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in August, asking the court to overturn a San Mateo County Superior Court ruling that upheld the South San Francisco Planning Commission and subsequently the South San Francisco City Council’s Aug. 28, 2013 decision to grant a conditional use permit for Planned Parenthood to open a clinic at 435 Grand Ave.

South San Francisco zoning code requires a conditional use permit for a storefront medical clinic on that portion of Grand Avenue.

Respect Life South San Francisco has held prayer vigils every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon since 2013, Gomez said. Respect Life South San Francisco includes parishioners from nearby All Souls, as well as Mater Dolorosa, St. Veronica and St. Augustine, Gomez said.

The appeal filed by attorney Gregory Weiler on behalf of Respect Life South San Francisco says that the planning commission did not consider the effect on the area, specifically the protests and counter protests about the medical clinic, in granting the conditional use permit. The planning commission waived the California Environmental Quality Act requirement for an environmental impact report, and should not have, Weiler said.

Weiler appealed the Superior Court decision to the state Court of Appeals. The court has not set a date for a hearing but Weiler expects that to be resolved in late 2016. “If we lose there, we will appeal to the Supreme Court,” Weiler said.

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte said at the time it applied for the conditional use permit that it did not plan to perform surgical abortions at the facility.

The City of South San Francisco expects oral arguments in mid-2016, the city attorney Jason Rosenberg said.

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