Chicago City Council’s Proposed Abortion Bubble Zone Draws ACLU Opposition
by Steven Ertelt
October 6, 2009
Chicago, IL (LifeNews.com) — The Chicago City Council’s proposal for an 8-foot bubble zone around abortion centers is such an infringement on the free speech rights of pro-life advocates that the ACLU is opposing it. The pro-abortion legal group is on the other side of the Planned Parenthood abortion business in a vote expected tomorrow.
The Chicago bubble zone 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.
While pro-life groups are strongly opposed to the measure and are asking members of the city council to vote against it, the ACLU of Illinoiss has issued a statement that makes clear that the Chicago Council "must honor the Constitution and tolerate the widest amount of free speech in public ways."
The Chicago-based Thomas More Society, a pro-life legal group, is applauding the ACLU for standing up for the free speech rights of all Americans, regardless of their position on abortion.
This sort of peaceful and lawful conduct on public sidewalks in front of abortion clinics is protected by the First Amendment," Peter Breen, the director of the pro-life group, told LifeNews.com. "We thank the ACLU for joining us in opposing this ill-conceived ordinance."
Breen says the tide would turn against free speech if Chicagos leaders target pro-life advocates with a municipal ordinance that would restrict their speech rights and prevent them from helping women going to area abortion centers.
Within 50 feet of an abortion clinic, the ordinance imposes an 8-foot cone of silence that prevents anyone from coming within that distance to speak to or pass a leaflet to a person near an abortion center.
Breen says the "ordinance is aimed at persons who seek to offer help and support with a womans pregnancy at abortion clinics, because a substantial number of women at Chicago-area abortion clinics who are offered assistance with their pregnancies accept that help and choose to have their children."
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 is expected to get a vote by the full city council on Wednesday.
Breen has promised a lawsuit if the city goes 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
Related web sites:
Thomas More Society – https://www.thomasmoresociety.org
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