Chicago Pro-Life Advocates Oppose Proposed Abortion Protest Bubble Zone
by Steven Ertelt
October 5, 2009
Chicago, IL (LifeNews.com) — Chicago is the latest city to target pro-life advocates with a proposal that would limit their free speech rights and prevent them from helping women going to area abortion centers. The Chicago City Council proposed an 8-foot bubble zone around abortion centers last Thursday.
The proposed ordinance would prohibit pro-life people from coming within eight feet of any person approaching an abortion business in the city.
It imposes a $500 fine for simply trying to talk to a woman about abortion as she walks to the entrance of the abortion facility.
Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League tells LifeNews.com that the measure would be "devastating to our pro-life efforts, including sidewalk counseling."
"Chicago abortionists — led by Planned Parenthood — are pushing the Chicago City Council to adopt," the ordinance, he said. "The bubble zone would make sidewalk counseling nearly impossible within the city limits. Such a chilling attack on free speech could even halt the 40 Days for Life campaign going on right now."
The proposed ordinance was passed by the Human Relations committee last week, and could be voted on by the City Council as early as Wednesday.
Scheidler is asking for pro-life advocates to contact the office of Mayor Daley and members of the city council to urge a no vote.
"I can’t emphasize enough how fatal this Bubble Zone would be," he said. "Pro-life counselors are saving babies every week by talking intimately with abortion-bound mothers outside" the abortion centers.
Beth Kanter, a senior vice president with Planned Parenthood, supports the ordinance and told NBC Chicago that it is needed because of the supposed "significant surge in the size and viciousness" of alleged attacks on employees of abortion centers.
"The local police have been very helpful," Kanter said, "but their hands are tied in what they are able to do without a local ordinance to enforce."
She did not provide any examples of alleged attacks by pro-life people on abortion facility staff or patients in her interview.
"We have no issue with peaceful protests, praying or sidewalk counseling, as long as it does not block a clinic entrance or otherwise interfere with patients or staff," Kanter claimed. "The problem is the overt, in-your-face tactics that Planned Parenthood’s patients and staff endure regularly."
Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based pro-life law group, promised a lawsuit if the city went through with the ordinance.
"This is not about safety," he told NBC. "It’s about shutting down a means of protest. We don’t want to sue our hometown, but we will if this measure is passed."
Alderman Vi Daley (43rd) is the sponsor of the measure.
ACTION: Contact Mayor Daley at 312-744-3300 and members of the city council at https://www.cityofchicago.org/CityCouncil
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