In the zone: Pros (life & choice) turn out

Attendance at the Tuesday, November 9 meeting of the Albemarle County Zoning Appeals Board gave new meaning to the term "standing-room only." Hundreds of pro-choicers sporting blue and white circular stickers flooded the County Office Building. Outside, a group of 50 pro-lifers joined hands in a prayer circle. "God, we pray for your will to be accomplished," the leader intoned.

The reason for the turnout of near Biblical numbers?

The Central Virginia Family Forum filed a legal appeal to revoke Planned Parenthood's Certificate of Occupancy for their new Dr. Herbert C. Jones Reproductive Health and Education Center. At issue, the Forum says, is the new Center's proximity to Albemarle High School as well as their claim that a clinic violates the special use permit for "office space."

At least among those outside the auditorium, pro-choicers seemed to outnumbered pro-lifers by a factor of ten to one.

"I'm disappointed that there aren't more people representing my position," said Tom Bouch, who hopes the zoning board will close Planned Parenthood down. He cites the recent presidential election as a sign that "There's a silent majority who feel the way I do."

On the other side is Planned Parenthood's Jenny Lindley who says her opponents' efforts to close the brand new center has nothing to do with zoning.

"It's about forced pregnancy and punishing women," she says. "It's disgusting; it makes me puke."

At press time the Hook learned that the Board voted to uphold the Certificate of Occupancy.