Planned Parenthood’s Kissimmee abortion mega-center has been the target of public outcry since their plans to open an abortion mega center across the street from Osceola Regional Medical Center were uncovered in March 2014. (Photo credit: Amber Carroll.)
KISSIMMEE, Florida (www.forerunner.com) — The following is a lesson on the value pro-life unity, holy persistence, and that elections really do matter!
In January 2019, Planned Parenthood agreed to a court-ordered permanent injunction against performing surgical abortions in their mega center at Kissimmee Oak Commons, where surgical procedures like abortion are not permitted. The abortion center must cease doing surgical abortions on November 1st, 2019. Chemical abortion by pill can still be offered.
The complaint that led to the permanent injunction was supported by an affidavit of Dr. John Massey, a cardiologist and one of the general partners of MMB Properties, as well as a zoning verification letter that Planned Parenthood sent to the City of Kissimmee inquiring whether it could operate an “Out Patient Surgical Center” at the Kissimmee Health Center and an application Planned Parenthood submitted to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to operate an abortion clinic.
From 2014 to 2015, I published a series of articles through Forerunner.com on the opening of an abortion mega center that was intended to take over the bulk of abortions performed in central Florida by the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood. The abortion center is located in a medical complex called Oak Commons, directly across the street from Osceola Regional Medical Center (ORMC).
This series of articles chronicle what happened when hundreds of Christians flooded city hall and took to the streets in resistance to child murder in our community. This is included dozens of pastors leading their churches in Awareness Campaigns at the killing center in Oak Commons and the four-lane street facing ORMC.
Orlando Planned Parenthood executive targets ethnic community near Disney World includes testimony before the city commission by community leaders, such as sidewalk evangelist John Barros and Dr. John Littell. Numerous medical professionals, business owners and church and ministry leaders spoke of the adverse effect an abortion center would have on the local community.
A Facebook page called Stop Planned Parenthood of Kissimmee was launched by several Orlando area pro-life evangelists in an effort to alert the community on March 19th.
In the ensuing weeks, Citizens for Life at first urged the city of Kissimmee to take a long, hard look at zoning laws that might prohibit Planned Parenthood or at least any future abortion center from opening in Kissimmee. When all but one of the city commissioners, Wanda Rentas, refused to act, a local medical practice, MMB Properties, filed a lawsuit arguing the Planned Parenthood unfairly violated a covenant that disallowed surgical abortion on the site.
An Operation Save America (OSA) Regional Event took place in Kissimmee, Florida from June 11-14, 2014. This was a series of daily sidewalk events at the Kissimmee Planned Parenthood abortion mega center and nightly meetings at two local churches, including Centro de la Familia Cristiana de Poinciana, which has spearheaded the fight against abortion in the Hispanic community.
Kissimmee Abortion Wars Part II: The Empire Strikes Back was published on July 31st, 2014. This was a longer article chronicling the time-line of what happened up to that point and exposed the complicity of liberal politicians and the former property owner, Orthopedic Association of Osceola (OAO), to get Planned Parenthood into this property in violation of the covenant with ORMC. The article also explains the sometimes confusing court case asking for a temporary and then permanent injunction against surgical abortion being performed at the site.
Court ordered ban on abortions in Kissimmee back in effect was posted on May 22nd, 2015. This article describes how in the fall of 2014, Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando won a stay of the temporary injunction on the abortion center. However, a 2-1 ruling by the 5th District Court of Appeal in May 2015 reaffirmed the restrictive covenant in the medical park that bars the property from being used as an outpatient surgical center.
This article also included a link to the numerous videos and television newscasts that were recorded from 2014 to 2015 chronicling the struggle.
This injunction against surgical abortion was then granted yet another stay by the liberal Florida Supreme Court on February 23rd, 2017 who ruled that the 5th Circuit Court was wrong to bar surgery from taking place in Oak Commons. The Supreme Court ruled that restrictions still allowed such services if they were “ancillary and incidental” to the practice, not a main part of it.
This case focused on whether Planned Parenthood at its location in Kissimmee “may perform surgical abortions under the Declaration’s exception, which provides that outpatient surgical procedures may be performed so long as they are ‘ancillary and incidental to a physician’s practice of medicine.’”
Judge John E. Jordan, who entered a temporary injunction against Planned Parenthood early in this matter, readily recognized upon the limited evidence then available that Planned Parenthood’s performance of abortions was not ancillary and incidental to its business. However, Planned Parenthood’s then-CEO, Jenna Tosh, offered unsupported and ultimately discredited testimony that “performance of abortions would represent less than one percent of the total number of services Planned Parenthood provides.”
The Florida Supreme Court overturned Judge Jordan’s injunction largely on the basis of that misrepresentation, but recognized that at the permanent injunction stage, “the parties will have substantial additional evidence regarding Planned Parenthood’s activities and whether they, in fact, violate the Declaration.”
Over the last four years, MMB diligently obtained that evidence, and looked forward to completely dismantling Planned Parenthood’s “less than 1%” misrepresentation at the permanent injunction hearing, which was scheduled to occur in March 2019.
According to lawyer Keith Arago, Planned Parenthood’s decision to agree to the permanent injunction on the eve of trial spared both MMB Properties and the abortion giant from additional expenses and time to establish by trial what the world already knows: “abortion is Planned Parenthood’s golden goose.”
The agreed injunction vindicates both Judge Jordan, whose findings were accurate and survived the test of time, and MMB Properties, a small Kissimmee partnership who stood firm against a financial and political giant unaccustomed to having rules equally applied to it.
I believe that this case could have national repercussions as Planned Parenthood often argues that its abortion services are incidental in order to receive federal funding. Dr. John Massey and MMB Properties did us an invaluable service in documenting by precedent that this is not the case.
In 2018, my personal involvement on the streets was limited due to my increased work responsibilities. However, I participated as a witness on three weekends early in the year at two Planned Parenthood locations in central Florida. In each of those outreaches, we saw an abortion-minded woman change her mind and turn away from the abortion center through a dramatic move of God. I firmly believe that if every Christian would do their part even in a limited role, we can see abortion ended through community organization and direct action.
On the political front, we also saw a close race for governor in which a conservative central Florida state representative, Ron DeSantis, defeated the corrupt liberal mayor of Tallahassee, the pro-abortion socialist Andrew Gillum. The immediate effect of DeSantis’ victory was in immediately replacing three retiring liberal Florida Supreme Court Justices with three solid conservatives. Planned Parenthood soon signed the permanent injunction agreement issued by the district court when it became apparent that they no longer had a majority of “bought and paid for” justices on their side in Florida’s Supreme Court. This shows that elections do matter.
The Kissimmee pro-life movement has shown what can be done when Christians work together in unity, when dozens of pastors are convinced to show up on the streets leading their churches, and when the law of love is demonstrated toward our Christian brethren, preborn children and parents in crisis pregnancies. We recognize that the struggle against the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood, is far from over, but we rejoice in this victory.
Supplemental information provided by Maureen Arago. For more information, contact: MMB Properties, c/o Arago Law Firm, PLLC (407) 344-1185.