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News

Temporary injunction hobbles Kissimmee Planned Parenthood office

Judge rules that health center violates building restrictions

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Don’t Kissimmee

Because some flash mob of errant Kissimmee physicians and the extremists who love them need to find a new hobby (lobby), last week an Osceola County judge granted a temporary injunction to block the new Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando facility in Kissimmee’s Oak Commons medical community from doing its job: providing reproductive care for women and men. The move wasn’t a terrible surprise. When we covered the initial opening of the center back in April, there were already protests (and suspicious “Christian” packages) threatening to block the office, initially by pressuring city officials. That didn’t work.

So in early July, there was a civil trial at which doctors surrounding the new location (which is near Osceola Regional Medical Center) – along with representatives from Planned Parenthood – fought the merits of the case. Essentially, via a copy of the initial complaint obtained by Happytown, those complaints seemed laughable. The complaining coalition, known as MMB Properties, argued that Planned Parenthood was operating in violation of Oak Commons’ Declaration of Restrictions (as written ages ago by the developer). Specifically, the restrictions forbade medical imaging (even though the same space used to be run by an OB/GYN), emergency care (which Planned Parenthood provides through Plan B pills) and operating a surgery center. The last of those is particularly interesting when you consider that the Florida Statutes do not refer to abortion providers as surgery centers – “a facility existing for the primary purpose of performing terminations of pregnancy, an office maintained by a physician for the practice of medicine, or an office maintained for the practice of dentistry shall not be construed to be an ambulatory surgical center,” the statute reads – so either the judge doesn’t understand statutory law or there are some semantics being played with here.

But probably the most absurd development found in the complaint is that Planned Parenthood is guilty of, effectively, being a public nuisance that doesn’t live up to neighborhood standards. Why? Because of the protests the clinic attracts.

Local television media went a little hog-wild on the story, skipping past any of the real particulars and allowing the offended doctors to run the show with salacious quotes. “You can look out the windows of labor and delivery and you can see women walking into and out of an abortion clinic,” “family” Dr. John Littell told WKMG 6 News. Also disconcerting, beyond the bomb threats, was the fact that “family” Dr. Jose Fernandez piped in with, “I think this is a win for life,” according to CFNews13. Littell runs J.M.J. (Jesus Mary Joseph) Family Practice, which moonlights as a crisis pregnancy center. Wonder where those offending protests are coming from, angels?

PPGO chief executive officer Jenna Tosh says that, despite the “medical” machinations at work here, the war isn’t over.

“Since we opened our Kissimmee Health Center, we have been busy providing needed preventive healthcare, including well-woman exams, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and more. Our focus is on the tens of thousands of patients who come to us for high-quality, affordable health care every year,” she says in an email. “This is far from over. We plan to immediately appeal this decision and will do everything in our power to make sure that women have access to a full range of health services in Osceola County. Women need a place to go for quality, affordable and nonjudgmental care. Planned Parenthood is that place – and we will continue to be. Our doors are open today and they will be open tomorrow.

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