Hundreds of Garland residents and business owners have signed a petition urging the city to stop a women’s clinic from opening a location in the downtown plaza.
The Source, owned by Christian nonprofit Involved For Life, has signed a tentative contract with the owners of the property at 500 Main Street but is considering other locations, councilor Deborah Morris Morris said The Dallas Morning News.
And even if the clinic chose the location on the corner of the former Garland Furniture Square, the property does not have enough parking spaces to comply with city regulations and would therefore have to apply for an exemption from the municipality.
“Such a request would be very challenging,” wrote Morris in an email.
Parking is just one of the problems Garland business owners and residents face when The Source comes onto the square. The clinic, with locations in downtown Dallas, DeSoto, and other parts of Texas, provides free or low-cost services to women with sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies website.
It does not perform abortions or refer women to centers that offer them, but instead provides training on “Maintaining Healthy Sexuality, Pre-Abortion Alternatives, Post-Abortion Recovery” and other topics.
The Garland Downtown Business Association and others say their opposition to opening the clinic in the square has little to do with the services on offer.
“Every member of the GDBA board speaks out clearly and directly against this use of space,” an open letter with the petition Conditions.
Aside from inadequate parking, the top concerns are:
- A clinic does not fit the theme of the space, which “should be for retail, hospitality and entertainment”.
- The type of traffic that a clinic could bring with it is “counterproductive for our goals in the inner city”.
- As a nonprofit, the clinic would pay no property taxes and is a missed opportunity to use downtown real estate to raise taxpayers’ money for the city.
Building a nonprofit medical facility on the corner of the square doesn’t make economic sense, business owners and local residents said, especially with the city investing an estimated $ 20 million in revitalizing downtown Garland.
“Are you going to spend all that taxpayer money on a square redesign and do this? Makes no sense, “wrote a local resident of the petition.
Karin Wiseman and Trayc Claybrook, who run the Art Lounge and two separate stores in the room, said the clinic and similar stores would be a bad match for what the community is trying to achieve in the square.
“We have live music almost every night. We are an entertainment district. … It’s kind of a family reunion, shopping, drinking, enjoying the good vibes, ”said Wiseman. “Then we know what it means to test for STDs and encourage girls to continue unwanted pregnancies … yes, it would change things.”
She and Claybrook said that downtown business owners don’t mind the clinic coming to town, but they don’t want it to disturb the atmosphere they were trying to create.
“We haven’t offended her in any way because there is no reason to,” Claybrook said. “You are a fine establishment – just not on this corner.”
Councilor Morris said the petition has created some confusion about what the city can and cannot do, and there is misinformation floating around about the clinic. Some online commentators thought The Source was an abortion clinic, while others were upset that a “moral clinic” that provides inaccurate medical information and manipulates women into keeping unwanted pregnancies was trying to open on the square.
Carolyn Cline, executive director of Involved for Life and CEO of The Source North Texas, said abortion counseling is just one of the services offered and is conducted “absolutely in accordance with the state of Texas” and its manual, A Woman’s Right to Know. Medical Associations, Planned Parenthood, and other groups have said that the manual contains statements that are medically incorrecthow a link between breast cancer rates and abortion.
Source clinics also offer pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, gynecological appointments, abortion pill waiver, cancer screening, and birth control that many religious centers don’t offer.
Cline said she was “not free” to say it The news which other Garland locations The Source is considering, but said the clinic will decide soon.
“Time will tell where it goes next,” wrote Morris in a Facebook post.