Pro-life group buys parking lot across street from abortion clinic

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 11:56 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A parking lot at the corner of Sylvania and North Haven in Toledo, across the street from an abortion clinic, had been for sale for 20 years -- until February, when the owner says he got competing offers, now sparking renewed debate over one of our country’s most divisive issues.

Foundation for Life, a pro-life group, purchased the lot in March for $35,000, according to the lot’s former owner.

“We often have patients who park over there. Mostly by mistake,” says Kristin Hady, the clinic escort volunteer coordinator at Capital Care of Toledo, the city’s only abortion clinic.

Escorts used to meet patients at their cars and shuttle them past pro-life “sidewalk advocates” like Bob Schoen.

“They’ll change their minds. We know that it’s not going to be many, but it doesn’t have to be many for us. We want to help the ones that we can,” says Schoen, who engages with patients outside the clinic every day it’s open.

But escorts are no longer allowed on this land since Foundation for Life bought the land. The group made an offer in February, around the time that City Council introduced the Patient Safety Ordinance, which would ban protesters from approaching patients. But the foundation can talk to anyone they want on their own property.

“I thought if we owned the property, that would be another reason for the unconstitutionality of the ordinance itself,” says Ed Sitter, Foundation for Life’s executive director.

Councilman Nick Komives, one of the council members who introduced the ordinance, in a phone call with 13abc referred to the purchase as “a petty move.”

Capital Care also says that their landlord was also attempting to buy the lot. The land was owned by Superior Uniform Sales, whose owner said the clinic’s landlord never identified himself as such. He also claims that he sold to the foundation after the clinic’s landlord didn’t counter.

Hady says that she doesn’t buy it.

“I’m more so I think angry that private businesses, like Superior Uniform Sales, will use their money and power to directly facilitate patient harassment and make them less safe,” says Hady.

Currently, the foundation is encouraging patients to park in the lot, while the clinic is warning them to stay away.

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