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Suiting Up: Planned Parenthood v. Stanton

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Brandi Swindell doesn't hide the fact that her organization, The Stanton Project, is selective about where it buys property.

"We've acquired land next to Planned Parenthood in Meridian," said Swindell, referring to a parcel of land in a Franklin Road business park. "We're very strategic. We want to go where the women are."

Hundreds of women walk through the doors of the Planned Parenthood Meridian Health Center each year for wellness exams, vaccines, pregnancy testing, birth control and abortions—but local officials with the national nonprofit say something else has been going on right outside their doors: harassment.

"Protesters and, let's call them 'invitees' of Stanton, have been approaching our patients and staff and taking photographs of people's cars," said Hannah Brass Greer, chief legal counsel for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaii. "Our patients have been approached by Stanton's invitees saying, 'Come over here.'"

"Over here" is a large RV parked near Planned Parenthood. Swindell said her organization takes the "mobile clinic" to "underserved areas."

Planned Parenthood is suing Stanton, alleging harassment and a violation of covenants in the business park, but Swindell insisted her colleagues aren't bothering anyone.

"We have a very strict code of conduct with our volunteers and staff, and I must tell you, if I saw any of our people harassing anyone, I would even call the police," she said. "We've asked for the suit to be dismissed."

Meanwhile, Swindell said, plans to build a brick-and-mortar Stanton Healthcare clinic on Franklin Road are moving forward. The design plans are being reviewed by Meridian city officials, and Swindell expects to break ground in early spring and complete construction before next winter.

In the meantime, summonses, complaints and responses fly between Stanton and Planned Parenthood in Fourth Judicial District Court.

Attorneys for both sides are expected to be back before District Court Judge Michael Reardon on Monday, Feb. 13.

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