Chicago Drops Charges on Second Person Arrested Under Abortion Bubble Zone
by Steven Ertelt
August 16, 2010
Chicago, IL (LifeNews.com) — The city of Chicago, Illinois has dropped the charges against the second person arrested under its new bubble zone law that limits the free speech rights of pro-life advocates. The first person arrested under the new ordinance already saw his charges dismissed.
The case of Joe Holland received national press when a Fox News report focused on how he was arrested merely for praying in front of a Chicago-area Planned Parenthood abortion business.
Holland, a Northwestern University graduate student, was praying the rosary on a public sidewalk outside the Planned Parenthood Near North abortion facility on July 3 when staff called the police, claiming that he had violated the new ordinance. He saw his charges dismissed earlier this month.
Late last week, Chicago officials dismissed the city’s case against the second arrestee charged with disorderly conduct.
Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, a pro-life legal group, represented David Avignone, an MBA student at Loyola University Chicago, who was arrested on July 8 while standing outside Planned Parenthoods Near North Side clinic.
We are pleased that for the second time, the City of Chicago has dismissed the false charges of disorderly conduct against a man who was properly and legally exercising his First Amendment rights on the public way, said Breen.
We hope these two baseless cases involving alleged Bubble Zone infractions show the Chicago City Council why it should repeal this controversial ordinance altogether and cease efforts to scare pro-life people away from Planned Parenthood," he added.
The Bubble Zone ordinance applies outside local abortion businesses to prohibit approaching within eight feet of a person to present a leaflet, sign or oral message to that person. The Thomas More Society challenged the constitutionality of this ordinance, in agreement with the ACLU, in 2009.
The city council approved the new last October and pro-life groups say it targets those who provide women abortion alternatives. The new bubble zone law subjects pro-life advocates to a $500 fine for merely talking to women considering abortion outside an abortion facility.
The "Bubble Zone" ordinance prohibits approaching within eight feet of a person without their consent "for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to, displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education, or counseling."
The law establishes a 50-foot buffer outside the entrances of abortion centers and, within that zone, no one can come within an 8-foot zone to distribute literature, counsel or display a sign.
Related web sites:
Thomas More Society – http://www.thomasmoresociety.org
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