Chicago Pro-Life Advocates Ask Mayor Daley to Not Approve Abortion-Bubble Zone
by Steven Ertelt
October 8, 2009
Chicago, IL (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life advocates have one last hope before a newly-proposed bubble zone goes into place that would revoke their free speech rights outside abortion centers. They hope Mayor Richard Daley will refuse to sign the new ordinance, which limits their ability to present women abortion alternatives.
If Daley signs the law, it will go into effect on November 17.
David Bereit, the director of the national 40 Days for Life prayer campaign outside abortion centers, which would be directly adversely impacted by the law, hopes he won’t sign it.
"Before this bad law goes into effect, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has to approve it. We have a narrow window of time to convince the mayor to veto the Bubble Zone ordinance," he told LifeNews.com.
Bereit urges pro-life advocates to call the mayor’s office, which has set up an automated line to handle votes related to the bubble zone ordinance. From indications LifeNews.com has received from readers and other Chicago-area residents, they are flooding the line with phone calls.
"If we don’t push back hard against this clearly unconstitutional law, Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry will feel empowered to trample on the rights of pro-life free speech all across the country," Bereit warned. "Please act now — while there’s still time."
Should Daley sign the ordinance into law, pro-life advocates have one additional hope.
Peter Breen, executive director of the Thomas More Society, a pro-life legal group, has said it would sue the city for violating the First Amendment rights of pro-life advocates.
The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved the 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 28-13 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.
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.
Breen said 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.
"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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