The city of Louisville, Kentucky is considering an ordinance that would prohibit pro-lifers from sidewalk counseling or even peacefully praying within 12 feet of an abortion facility.
WLKY reports a Louisville Metro Council committee approved the buffer zone ordinance Wednesday in a 4-2 vote. It now heads to the full city council for consideration.
If it passes, the buffer zone would prohibit pro-lifers from coming within 12 feet of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center, which aborts unborn babies up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, and the city Planned Parenthood. Though the ordinance would apply to all protesters outside all city health care clinics, the ordinance targets pro-lifers who stand outside abortion facilities.
The Courier Journal reports the Louisville Safety Zone campaign has been lobbying city leaders to enact the buffer zone for years. Planned Parenthood also has been urging the city to pass it.
According to the report, the ordinance would prohibit people “from entering, remaining on or creating obstructions in the buffer zone during the facility’s business hours, with a few exceptions for licensees, invitees, people using the sidewalk ‘solely for the purpose of reaching a destination other than such a facility,’ law enforcement, emergency services and other city employees or facility employees on work business.”
Violators would be given a warning for their first offense. A second offense would be punishable by citation and a fine of up to $500.
Activists claimed the buffer zone is needed now more than ever because of the coronavirus, but pro-life leaders said it violates free speech.
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Margie Montgomery, the executive director of Kentucky Right to Life, said buffer zones target pro-lifers who are trying to help pregnant mothers and their unborn babies.
“[Pro-life advocates] try to reach out to women, or at least are praying that women take the high road and decide to have their baby,” she told the newspaper. “People are hoping to reach out. Their presence should be a positive sign — that we’re with you all, to save your baby.”
Though abortion activists try to portray pro-lifers as mean, pro-lifers are overwhelmingly peaceful and compassionate. They volunteer to stand outside abortion facilities to offer mothers help and save unborn babies from slaughter.
It appears abortion activists are just using the coronavirus as another excuse to pass the restriction.
Montgomery said pro-lifers are trying to save lives, and they do not want to catch the virus either.
“If someone goes down there, they want to take every precaution that they could,” she said.
Pro-life sidewalk counselors do save lives. Earlier this week, Sidewalk Counselors for Life celebrated helping 10,000 mothers choose life for their unborn babies in its six years of ministry. They encourage mothers to give their babies a chance at life and connect them with community resources, including pregnancy resource centers, that provide financial and material help.
Buffer zones across the country are being challenged in court as a violation of free speech. While the U.S. Supreme Court did grant a victory to pro-lifers in a 2014 buffer zone case, this summer it refused to hear two other cases involving pro-life advocates’ freedom to speak on public sidewalks outside abortion facilities in Pennsylvania and Chicago.
In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 35-foot Massachusetts buffer zone law. However, other smaller buffer zones still are in place in the U.S.
ACTION ALERT: Contact members of the Louisville city council here to oppose the measure.