Planned Parenthood (PP) has always been a controversial organization and a main target of the pro-life movement. While PP maintains they are vital for women’s healthcare provision in this country, pro-life organizations regularly refute that assertion, saying that the country’s largest abortion provider doesn’t provide much care at all; it is certainly not a healthy place for a baby in the womb.
The fight to publicly defund PP’s abortion mills rages on, but PP also engages in strong-arm tactics and harassment in efforts to shut down alternative forms of women’s and pregnancy healthcare.
No one knows this better than Brandi Swindell, founder and director of the Stanton Healthcare Center in Boise, Idaho. Swindell is well known in the pro-life movement and established her non-profit, free pregnancy and healthcare center after an experience with a friend who had an abortion changed her heart forever. She saw the pain and emotional despair in the aftermath and knew there had to be a better way to help frightened women in desperate situations.
After years of networking and fundraising, Swindell has been able to purchase outright a building to house Stanton services. Those building just so happen to be the direct neighbors of a Planned Parenthood. From the beginning the abortion provider was none too pleased to see the pregnancy center open right next door. They immediately began making petty complaints, even calling police when Swindell sent her assistant to take pictures of surrounding business’s banners as to make sure their own met the size requirements. Their complaint? The assistant stepped on their grass.
The police took one look at the slight, meek 22-year-old employee and told the Stanton staff to have a nice day.
Over the years Stanton’s PP neighbors have eased up on their complaints. Swindell is extremely careful to meet all of the requirements of the state and her business complex. When Stanton began a mobile healthcare clinic which sometimes parks in the commons area of the complex, it seemed a bridge too far. Last week Planned Parenthood slapped Stanton with a lawsuit alleging misuse and abuse of the common areas and claiming that the clinic invites people to use the common area to protest and cause nuisances.
Swindell says her attorneys are currently reviewing the rules but are confident PP does not have appropriate grounds for the law suit.
They’re saying that we’re inviting other groups to our property and they’re blaming us for any nuisances brought by groups. We have very strict policies of code of conduct. Our brand is getting bigger and bigger and women are responding.
That, claims Swindell, is really what PP finds the most threatening.
While PP simply hands out referrals for many vital healthcare services like mammograms and health screenings, the Stanton mobile clinic provides a full array of medical services, free of charge. The 35 ft. state-of-the-art RV includes an exam room, ultrasound equipment, baby supplies, maternity clothes, prenatal vitamins and a host of other medical necessitities for women who are left out of the healthcare system.
For now the clinic remains local to the center, but once the proper provisions are in place (which Swindell says should be in a short time) the clinic plans to bring their services directly to the homeless community in Boise. They will provide feminine hygiene products and healthcare to homeless women and will continue their support for the refugee community in ID as well. They also aim to travel to high schools and underserved rural areas across the state.
But that’s not all Stanton plans to do. After recently closing on their second building Swindell says they have plans to build a “mega-clinic” to provide the highest possible quality of life-affirming women’s healthcare. This – she maintains- is the real reason PP suddenly brought suit. The abortion giant feels threatened. Swindell finds it all very ironic.
Planned Parenthood is always fighting for access issues; they’re always accusing the pro-life community of trying to block access and here they are trying to block access!
For Stanton’s part, the healthcare provider claims the only complaints they have ever received from the community in their business complex have come from Planned Parenthood, and in fact they have been welcomed openly as their services have driven up the value of the property.
They support us. They like us there because we bring some calmness and peace. When Planned Parenthood comes in property value goes down and most businesses don’t like it. We don’t like abortion clinics because they kill children but they’re not even wanted by the business community.
Swindell maintains that Stanton’s only goal is to provide quality care for women in need. She wants Stanton to directly compete with PP as an alternative that affirms life instead of takes lives. Stanton’s only tactics are to be visible and accessible. Nothing more.
“Whether people are pro-life or prochoice they need to know that Planned Parenthood thinks they have the authority to prevent us from helping women. They’re trying to prevent us from doing good. That’s disgusting.”
Stanton has set up a GoFundMe page for those who might like to donate in support of their legal defense. There is also information about resources and support opportunities on their website.