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FORT WORTH - Construction equipment churns away behind a chain link fence, but there's no sign to show what's being built on John Ryan Road in Southwest Fort Worth.

One subcontractor didn't find out until just a few hours before he was to pour concrete footings this week.

When he discovered it was a new Planned Parenthood health center where abortions will be performed, he told the general contractor his religious convictions wouldn't allow it.

He walked off the job. He told News 8 other construction workers are also raising religious objections.

The president of Planned Parenthood of North Texas said there's a reason the organization's name is not on the project.

From the beginning, we intended to be public with this project, Ken Lambrecht said. We wanted to choose the right time, so that our contractors wouldn't have to endure the harassment and intimidation that Planned Parenthood staffers and patients must endure on a day-to-day basis.

Abortion foes recently learned of the project.

What happened is, this woman up in Denison who used to work for Planned Parenthood came to Christ, and feeling so guilty she heard about these plans and told her pastor in Dennison, said Pastor Al Meredith of nearby Wedgwood Baptist Church.

He said workers need to know the end result of their labor.

And that way people can act according to their convictions, Meredith said.

Lambrecht said Planned Parenthood helped provide more than 6,000 abortions in North Texas in 2010, but said it provided even more referrals for adoption and pre-natal care.

Tarrant County has more than 24 percent of its residents living without insurance, Lambrecht said. They rely on us every year for basic health care, pap smears, birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Lambrecht said the new Planned Parenthood center is the result of a $21-million, multi-year fund raising effort. Hardly a secret, even if the location wasn't publicized.

Lambrecht is not the only one calling for calm civility as the new center is constructed.

Wedgwood Baptist is where a mentally-ill gunman left seven worshipers dead and seven more wounded in 1999. Pastor Al Meredith condemns abortion, but he's seen enough violence.

He said it's important for both sides not to demonize each other to make their points.

Treat each other with respect on both sides of this issue, because no matter where we stand, we are neighbors, Meredith said.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com


EDITOR'S NOTE:This story originally reported the Gladney Adoption Center next door to the Planned Parenthood construction site sold the land the site is on to a third party. That was reported in error and was removed at 2:00 p.m. Friday. We apologize for our error and any confusion it may have caused.

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