Chicago City Council OKs Abortion Bubble Zone Law Limiting Pro-Life Free Speech
by Steven Ertelt
October 7, 2009
Chicago, IL (LifeNews.com) — The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved a bubble zone law that makes it harder for pro-life advocates to offer women alternatives outside an abortion center. The law is so onerous that the pro-abortion ACLU joined pro-life advocates in condemning it.
Despite strong objection, members of the council voted 27-11 for the ordinance.
Alderman Vi Daley of the 43rd district sponsored the measure that she said would bring the city in line with many other cities and states across the nation. The law would establish 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.
"Women seeking any kind of medical service are routinely harassed," Daley claimed. "They are photographed, and they are followed."
The law would subject pro-life advocates to a $500 fine for merely talking to women considering abortion outside an abortion facility.
Planned Parenthood spearheaded and supported the proposal and said after the vote that it is a "huge step forward for us and our patients."
Outside the city council chambers, pro-life advocates protested and said the new law was driven by money, because Planned Parenthood loses money when women are given non-abortion options.
Peter Breen, the director of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, a pro-life legal group, 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.
This sort of peaceful and lawful conduct on public sidewalks in front of abortion clinics is protected by the First Amendment," Breen told LifeNews.com previously.
Breen has promised a lawsuit if the city goes through with the ordinance.
"This is not about safety," he said. "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."
The ACLU of Illinois 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."
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."
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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