- Associated Press - Thursday, December 22, 2016

MERIDIAN, Idaho (AP) - Planned Parenthood is suing a neighboring women’s clinic in Idaho over the harassment of Planned Parenthood patients and employees in a parking lot shared by the two organizations.

According to the lawsuit, people in the Meridian parking lot are blocking Planned Parenthood patients and employees from getting out of their cars, photographing their license plates, protesting or directing them away from Planned Parenthood and toward Stanton Healthcare’s mobile services bus. The harassers seem to have been invited by Stanton Healthcare, according to the Nov. 22 lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands.

The lawsuit also says the activities appear to be intended to intimidate people and prevent them from accessing the Planned Parenthood building.

Stanton Healthcare’s mission is to end abortion and provide free services to women facing unexpected pregnancies, reported the Idaho Press-Tribune (https://bit.ly/2hX6gqN ). Founder and CEO Brandi Swindell called many of the lawsuit’s claims slanderous and false.

“If anybody on my team ever did anything like that, they would be released from our organization,” said Swindell, who said she’s never seen any parking lot harassment like Planned Parenthood described. “That would be a breach of our code of conduct.”

Stanton Healthcare has opened pregnancy crisis centers next to Planned Parenthood clinics in Boise and Twin Falls. It plans to break ground next to the Meridian Planned Parenthood clinic in March, said Swindell.

Until then, Stanton is operating a mobile services bus in the parking lot.

Swindell accused Planned Parenthood of touting choice but suing a nonprofit that is trying to offer more options.

Katie Rogers, a regional spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, said the organization doesn’t want to stop Stanton’s services, just to have the other clinic stop harassing their staff and patients.

“They have repeatedly had protesters, Stanton Healthcare protesters, outside of our clinic,” said Rogers. “We felt the need to take action … to stop Stanton’s obstructionist agenda.”

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Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune, https://www.idahopress.com


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