The Slippery Slope, Episode 1: Zoning

Scott Lemieux writes on Lawyers, Gun$ and Money about "the conflict surrounding a new Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora, IL. The clinic has been delayed by zoning issues with the local government, which is also threatening to pass an inevitably useless parental involvement regulation. The tactic of arbitrarily using zoning or other regulations as a pretext to shut down clinics -- see also Missouri,  Mississippi, and Ohio -- is particularly important, with the potential to place far more severe burdens on abortion access than any of the regulations explicitly upheld in [Planned Parenthood v.] Casey. Such actions also attract much less attention than trying to ban abortion outright."

To which I can only add: No shit, commander! The religio-reactionaries have been pulling that shit on the adult industry for decades now, ever since Young v. American MiniTheatres, claiming that there's some sort of "penumbra" surrounding adult businesses that attracts drug users, lowers nearby property values and generally (but nonspecifically) endangers any kid or churchgoer who happens to live nearby — and they even created a set of bullshit studies to "prove" it.

Of course, the scientific studies done by Dr. Daniel Linz, Dr. Randy Fisher and others have proved (scientifically) that such claims are and always have been a load of crap — but cities still used "adverse secondary effects" as the primary excuse to zone adult businesses into the boonies ... and, if those city councils (and the theocon groups that propagandize to them) get their wish, those businesses then go out of business.

But the point is, the theocons have been so successful at using zoning to make life difficult for adult businesses — largely because none of the "good people" in the community have been willing to stand up for their right to rent or buy porn without driving 50 miles from their homes — that they've obviously figured, "Why not use the same tactics to try to drive other businesses we don't like — i.e., women's clinics — out of town as well?"

So, all you "good people" who never stood up for adult businesses' right to do business: The chickens have come home to roost. Pretty soon you'll have to fly to Sweden to get your abortions, which will still be legal but oddly unobtainable here.

Have a nice day! 


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