A group of people holding signs supporting Planned Parenthood during a pro choice demonstration.

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Proposed Buffer Zone Would Keep Protesters 8 Feet Away From Abortion Clinics

UPDATE: The Aldermanic Public Safety Committee voted 5 to 2 to get the bill out of commmittee, with a do-pass recomendation for the full board.

February 14, 2018 - 8:54 am
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Abortion opponents would have to stay back 8 feet from the Planned Parenthood driveway under a bill that's gaining momentum at St. Louis City Hall.

The Aldermanic Public Safety Committee voted 5 to 2 to get the bill out of commmittee, with a do-pass recomendation for the full board.  

Many in the crowd, like Jean Flannigan, came with Ash Wednesday crosses on the foreheads.
 
"A lot of the people that sidewalk-counsel or pray in front of the clinic are really trying to approach a woman in her most vulnerable time," Flannigan said, adding that they will have to hold their signs higher and pray harder.
 
Supporters say it's about public safety and not impeding a woman's right to an abortion.

There's talk of a court fight if it passes the full board, which could happen in a matter of weeks.

Previous reporting:

A proposed buffer zone between abortion clinic patients and abortion opponents is expected to come up for a vote at city hall this morning. 

Protestors or those wanting to counsel people against an abortion would have to stay eight feet back from the driveway that enters Planned Parenthood.   Brian Westbrook with the Coalition for Life says the buffer zone would stymie the work they've done there since 2009.

"We've had over 2000 women change their minds since then. We talk to probably 100 to 200 women or men every single day and we hand out countless pieces of literature out in this small driveway area," he says. Westbrook says the eight foot buffer zone would also infringe limit Freedom of Speech.

The aldermanic public safety committee could vote on the bill this morning. Sponsoring Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia says the bill strikes a "smart balance" between first amendment rights and the right to an abortion. She says police calls for service at the clinic for people "impeding traffic" have gone up in recent years.  She says similar legislation has been upheld by the Supreme Court.