Abortion Clinic Gets New Home: Taxpayers Foot The Bill of $300,000

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

(Correction: Fixes spelling of counsel Jennifer Jaff.)

(CNSNews.com) - A local abortion clinic in Bridgeport, Conn. will soon have a new home in the heart of the city's "high profile" commercial district, costing taxpayers $300,000 in moving and relocation costs and outraging many religious and political leaders in the city.

A new state courthouse and juvenile detention center are currently under construction in Bridgeport's downtown area. As the city clears a site for the construction, it will have to pay the relocation costs for several city businesses, including the Summit Women's Center.

The Summit Women's Center, an abortion clinic, has long been the subject of debate and protest in Bridgeport, said Jennifer Jaff, counsel for the clinic, said.

"There have been protestors outside of Summit for twenty years. They have ranged from one or two people to two hundred people. At this point, most recently, on a regular basis there are between thirty and fifty protestors on procedure days," Jaff said.

Jaff said that because of eminent domain laws, the city must provide all the businesses that are forced to relocate compensation.

"The city exercised its power of eminent domain and condemned the building that the clinic is in currently. By Connecticut law, they have to compensate when they take property; in other words, they have to pay for the building," she said.

"Second, statutorily, they have to pay relocation costs. They do not pay 100 percent of the costs of relocation. Summit has had to dive into its pocket to a large extent to cover the cost of relocation," she said.

While there is no controversy surrounding the eminent domain law, there is regarding the abortion clinic's new location.

"I personally feel that when you have demonstrations and protests, that is the issue that will interfere with economic development," said John Fabrizi, Bridgeport City Council president. "To me, it is not a pro-life or pro-choice issue. But, unfortunately, the type of work and the type of clinic that it is brings along a lot of controversy and debate, and also, potential violence as well. We have all watched that on the nightly news."

The clinic's new location will be 42nd and Main streets, one of the busiest intersections in the city of Bridgeport. "I really feel that the location, the conduciveness of the privacy of the clients and things of that nature, I don't believe need to be smack dab in the middle of 42nd Street," Fabrizi said.

According to Jaff, the Summit Women's Center is not entirely happy with the outcome either. The attention about the clinic's new location "makes Summit's life extremely difficult," Jaff said.

Local religious leaders are angry about the city's assistance in relocating the clinic. Rev. James Miller of the Gospel Light Community Church in Bridgeport told the Connecticut Post that he has called on all citizens of the city to oppose abortion and write city leaders urging them to oppose the city's role in the relocation of the Summit abortion clinic.

"It's time for all residents of greater Bridgeport to speak against child killing," Miller told the Post.

Fabrizi said he believes the city should go back to the drawing board. "Let's be sensitive to the clinic itself and let's be sensitive to the area where you are going to place this and let's see how it meshes. If you need to go the extra thirty miles to find a more conducive location ... use your head and try to find a better location," he said.

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