SACRAMENTO, CA - A group of anti-abortion protestors gathered Monday outside a newly-remodeled business complex to try to pressure the landlord into breaking his lease with a health center that provides abortion services.
Protest organizer Al Rhomberg said he just learned that Ethan Conrad Properties has leased a portion of the Ethan Expo center formerly occupied by KFBK and other Clear Channel radio stations to Women's Health Specialists, currently located about a mile away.
Rhomberg said he was particulary upset that Women's Health Specialists would be in the same complex as a WIC center, offering health and nutrition services to mothers and young children.
"We're opposed to abortion in general, obviously," Rhomberg said. "But this brings it to a new level of outrage."
Rhomberg compared the move to a brothel setting up next to a school.
Women's Health Specialists Executive Director Shauna Heckert said abortions are only a fraction of the services offered by her organization, which she believes will be a good fit with the WIC center.
"In fact, we do referrals back and forth. We work with many, many community agencies," Heckert said.
Joan Graham, Executive Director of the Community Resource Project, which runs the WIC center, said her organization had not taken a position on its new neighbor.
Rhomberg appealed to Ethan Conrad to break the lease, claiming he had been misled by Women's Health Specialists.
Conrad, who took over the center in December, said he has been "harassed" by the anti-abortion activists and was surprised by the controversy.
"I didn't think anyone would have an issue with it," Conrad said, believing Women's Health Specialists and the WIC center would be compatible neighbors. "It's a great organization."
Conrad echoed Heckert's position that abortions are a small percentage of all services offered. "I put that limitation in their lease," he said.
Conrad said he signed the lease with Women's Health Specialists more than two months ago and is legally bound to allow the organization to move in, which it plans to do at the end of the month.
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net