For everybody that’s been wondering about PPGC’s new signs, this is how we’re updating our Sidewalk Counselors (SWCs).
As far as the signs stating that “stopping” in the driveway is against the law, the actual wording in the law is a regulation for the facility in regards to its ambulatory surgical center (ASC) license and states the following:
“(f) Fire department access. As an aid to fire department services, every ASC shall provide the following.
(1) Driveways. The ASC shall maintain driveways, free from all obstructions, to main buildings for fire department apparatus use.”
So, saying it’s against the law to “stop” in the driveway is totally outrageous for several reasons:
1. It’s impossible to never stop in the driveways. People stop in the driveways all the time when they’re exiting the parking lot in order to yield to oncoming traffic.
2. The law doesn’t say not to STOP in the driveways, it says not to BLOCK the driveways. Since there are two open driveways for clients to access the parking lot, having a car stop in one driveway does not block access since there is another driveway available.
3. You can’t be blocking the driveway if there’s no-one trying to enter or exit, so pausing in the driveway for a conversation is not disrupting the flow of traffic if there is no traffic flow. Also, it still wouldn’t disrupt because of the aforementioned second driveway. However:
4. The regulation isn’t even in place concerning the flow of traffic, it’s concerning access for EMERGENCY vehicles. Planned Parenthood doesn’t bring emergency vehicles into the client parking lot in any case. It is well-documented that they send an employee out of the employee parking lot to enter the gate code to open access for emergency vehicles to come in to the employee parking lot. Several HCL employees have seen this happen in person on multiple occasions, and we have photo documentation of several instances. I saw it happen myself within the past two weeks. If anything, the gates around Planned Parenthood’s employee parking lot is breaking the law MUCH more than a sidewalk counselor holding brief conversations with clients in the client driveways, since this law pertains to emergency vehicle access.
One of our SWCs was approached by a PPGC volunteer and told the signs were in place because PPGC is “a hospital.” Okay everybody: they are NOT a hospital. They are an Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC). For more on the differences, you can see here: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/hfp/rules.shtm. It’s factually false to claim they are a hospital, and if it comes up again and you want something to say, you can just ask casually, “If you’re a hospital, why are your doctors required to have admitting privileges at another hospital before they can perform procedures here?” It’s part of state law now that the abortion practitioners have those hospital admitting privileges before they can perform abortions in an ambulatory surgical center. They’re an ASC, not a hospital.
As usual this is much more about PPGC trying to intimidate sidewalk counselors than it is about the law. But this is a good sign – if your hard work wasn’t successful, they wouldn’t care enough to make stuff like this up!
(Special Thanks to our faithful SWCs: M, S, and R for their insightful suggestions that helped make up the whole.)