The foes of a proposed Planned Parenthood facility in Pasco continue to make illogical arguments to prevent the clinic from opening there -- even participating in the very protests they fret about.
The city planning commission bought into some of the silliness in September when it recommended that the city deny a permit needed to open the clinic on Court Street, citing the potential for protests outside the facility as a primary concern.
Planned Parenthood appealed the decision, and the city council agreed to hold a hearing on the matter Nov. 16.
An element of the community opposes the idea of Planned Parenthood in Pasco on a purely pro-life stance but has tried to find other arguments to prevent the health organization from locating there.
They say the clinic will draw protests that prove a danger to drivers on Court Street and area businesses. The demonstrators, they say, would be protesting abortion, even though the procedure won't be performed at Planned Parenthood's Pasco location.
Another problem, opponents say, is that the clinic would be too close to an elementary school for their liking. We've even heard arguments that distracted teen drivers going to appointments at the clinic might run over grade-schoolers leaving school for the day. We'd say that's pretty far-fetched.
Another absurd argument is that Court Street isn't a good location because it's a main thoroughfare in Pasco, making the clinic too easy to get to for patients.
Yes, let's not make health care convenient or put it on a bus route.
In a community with some of the state's highest rates for sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancies, putting hurdles in the way of reproductive health care doesn't make sense.
Most recently, in an ironic twist, some members of the opposition group have taken to the streets to protest -- engaging in the very thing the group cited as a danger to the community and a reason to prevent a clinic from opening there.
Of course, opponents of the clinic have the right to protest, but their credibility is strained by the inherent contradiction between their stated concerns and subsequent actions.
The morality of abortion is a legitimate topic for public debate, but that controversy needs to be independent of decisions over special use permits.
The Pasco clinic would offer valuable services to the community, with costs on a sliding scale based on income. Annual exams, cancer screenings, prenatal services and childbirth classes are some of its offerings -- but not abortions.
Planned Parenthood clinics are often viewed as a place where young people can go for assistance and education without being judged.
Planned Parenthood's Kennewick clinic has operated quietly for years. The organization wouldn't be working this hard to open a clinic in Pasco if it didn't see a need.
The city council's Nov. 16 hearing is open to the public, but the record is closed, meaning no new comments will be taken.
Even so, emotions will continue to run high, and the city council will have a tough time separating controversy from fact in this case.
They shouldn't be swayed by concerns over future protests. It'd be a dangerous precedent for the council to set.
If the potential for demonstrations becomes the basis for zoning decisions, then any group strong enough to organize a picket line can stop any project, any time.