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Partial birth

"Partial birth" Continued...

Issue: "Kerry praying for votes," Oct. 9, 2004

"We are all Catholic and we all carry a Book and we all carry a cross and we all try to keep a balance," he said. "When the day comes, I hope I'm more on the pluses than the minuses. But that's a personal thing. . . . [My workers] have hung around with me in all of these tight economical situations and they're not hanging with me because I am putting my religious convictions above the business. They're hanging around with me because they believe I'm going to do what's legal and what's correct, but I'm doing what's best for business."

Mr. Carrasquillo said he doesn't have much respect for those who organize boycotts and protests. He said that in January he unsuccessfully invited TCSL contractors to join him in trying to address the causes of abortion by helping young mothers with free daycare, transportation, and school books. "That is a much tougher job than going there and standing in front of the Planned Parenthood building, and being a Superman, and making a lot of noise." There is no need, he said, for hardball tactics.

Mr. Danze said he can't account for all behavior of all pro-lifers, but defended TCSL's actions as "legal and ethical. We won't cross over to the illegal."

The management of the lucrative bus-facility contract may turn out to have been illegal, but even the money from that job couldn't save Rainbow. Still $5 million in debt, Mr. Carrasquillo on June 15 sold the firm to a competitor who, as it turned out, is a firm supporter of TCSL's pro-life boycott. That pinched Planned Parenthood again, shutting off the only ready source of concrete for the Choice Project. With no supplier, subcontractors were reduced to building curbs with concrete mixed in wheelbarrows "one bag at a time," according to Mr. Danze.

"If Ramon [Carrasquillo] hadn't caved they might still be waiting on concrete," said Mr. Danze. Still, he's not disappointed with the way events have unfolded. TCSL has already met its goals, he said: to stop construction or at least slow it down, and to make the process more expensive for Planned Parenthood.

Mr. Danze believes the boycott is a public-relations disaster for Planned Parenthood. TCSL's experience showed that it sometimes takes as little as one phone call to persuade a contractor to steer clear of working for an abortion business: "Pro-life people all over the country will say, 'Let's do that here!'" he said.

Some, at least in Texas, already have. Inspired by the success in Austin, the Houston Coalition for Life is organizing a construction boycott of a 45,000-square-foot abortion center in that city. The groups sent out 1,000 letters to Houston-area contractors in August.

In Dallas, the Catholic Pro-Life Committee is heading an effort to delay the retrofit of an Aaron's Women's Center abortion center to meet state standards for late-term abortion facilities. To comply with Texas law, late-term clinics now must be equipped to perform surgeries. Roel Garcia, an electrician and a minister, did not know he was working on an abortion business. After learning what would go on inside the Women's Center building, he walked away from the job.

Pro-lifers in Lufkin, Texas, are gearing up to boycott Planned Parenthood's likely attempt to "upgrade" its facility there to an abortion center. Mr. Danze expects them to succeed since Lufkin is a small city, making peer pressure and community standards powerful weapons.

Meanwhile in Austin, the Choice Project wing remains a mere slab in the ground, and Planned Parenthood by law cannot obtain a permanent certificate of occupancy until the entire project is done. The city can issue up to 60 days of temporary permits, but a city building inspector and boycott leaders expect Austin's famously liberal political hierarchy to exert pressure, allowing Planned Parenthood to slide along on temporary permits as long as it needs to.

And it may need to: Mr. Danze said a second-string general contractor and third-tier subcontractors may take weeks to complete the project. He has no illusions of stopping Planned Parenthood, but if delays carry into the holidays, the center is unlikely to open until well into 2005.

-with reporting by Courtney Russell

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