by Steven Ertelt
December 7, 2007
Oakland, CA (LifeNews.com) — Oakland city officials are expected to vote soon on an expanded bubble zone that would keep abortion protesters and sidewalk counselors further away from abortion businesses. Pro-life advocates oppose the idea because it limits the free speech rights of those involved and makes it more difficult to help women.
The city is considering an 8-foot zone around the entrances to abortion facilities and the city council is expected to approve the ordinance in the next week or two.
Fred E’Alessio, who helps women in crisis pregnancy situations who are heading to abortion centers, says city officials are forgetting about the needs of women.
"Not only am I not doing anything illegal, I’m not doing anything offensive to these women," he told Oakland’s KCBS. "We are friends of these women. We love these women, and we love their children. We’re doing something the state should be doing; the state should be providing this information to them.
Dr. Alveda King, niece of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a pro-life advocate, told LifeNews.com she agrees.
"There may be some who want to live their lives in bubbles where there are no black people or bubbles where there are no pro-lifers," she said.
King talked about the high number of African-Americans in Oakland and how a higher percentage of black women get abortions.
"The incredibly high number of abortions performed on black women in this country has to take a toll not just on the women involved, but also on their families, friends, and communities," King added.
"But it isn’t government’s job to hold down certain people so that we don’t come in contact with them," she said.
Though "words may make some uncomfortable," she notes that both her father and her uncle "were silenced," in large part because "their pleas for justice and compassion were troubling, even threatening to some."
Attorney Cyrus Johnson, a free speech advocate, expressed concern about granting "the government power to say which message can be communicated and which message cannot."
He noted that there is no documented justification for the proposal.
There are "zero police reports, zero records of injunctions filed, zero records of lawsuits filed and, frankly, no evidence beyond conjecture to support the notion that there is a problem at the clinics," said Johnson.