Board Of Supes Approves Plan To Create 25-Foot Protest Buffer Zone Outside Reproductive Health Clinics

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors today gave unanimous initial approval to legislation that will create a 25-foot buffer zone around entrances to reproductive health clinics in the city that are often targeted by anti-abortion activists.

The legislation, authored by Supervisor David Campos, alters existing city law that created an 8-foot “bubble” around patients entering or leaving the clinics, including a Planned Parenthood clinic on Valencia Street that has reported constant harassment from the activists.

Campos said the previous ordinance was harder to enforce and that the new law preventing protests within 25 feet of the entrances would better ensure the safety of patients.

“A number of individuals have stepped over the line, harassing and intimidating women,” he said.

Campos thanked many patients and Planned Parenthood employees who came to a board committee hearing last month to tell stories of harassment.

Several anti-abortion activists also attended the April 18 hearing and denied harassing patients.

Campos said the legislation strikes the right balance between the activists’ free speech rights and the rights of the patients to be free from harassment.

“Too many jurisdictions in this country have eroded the right of women to choose,” Campos said. “It is time in San Francisco to do the right thing and set a new trend for the rest of the country.”

The legislation will come in front of the board at its next meeting to be given final approval.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • Marie Roth

    Do all other protesters have to do this too?

    Union picketers? “Occupy?”

    Or is it just this ONE message, unpopular in this city, that is being singled out.

    I guess some speech is more free than other speech.

    • Coco

      Don’t confuse the issue. Speech isn’t being affected here. The proximity is. They can still say whatever they want. Just not as close. And you can’t honesty try to compare, say, individuals going into their place of civic business to work, to individuals seeking medical care.

  • Marie Roth

    Do all other protesters have to do this too?

    Union picketers? “Occupy?”

    Or is it just this ONE message, unpopular in this city, that is being singled out.

    I guess some speech is more free than other speech.

    • Coco

      Don’t confuse the issue. Speech isn’t being affected here. The proximity is. They can still say whatever they want. Just not as close. And you can’t honesty try to compare, say, individuals going into their place of civic business to work, to individuals seeking medical care.