Abortion clinics and other medical facilities in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, were granted a small reprieve from anti-choice protesters last week when the City Council unanimously voted to create a buffer zone around the facilities. Now protestors cannot be within 20 feet of an entrance or driveway to a medical facility without facing a fine. Planned Parenthood requested the buffer zone earlier this month in response to various incidents that have required police response since the clinic started offering medical abortions in December 2011.
The President and CEO of Planned Parenthood’s Northeast, Mid-Penn, and Bucks County facilities applauded the City Council’s decision “Our employees, our patients or anyone else visiting our patients at that time shouldn’t have to be followed, harassed, yelled at or feel that their safety is at risk.” Anti-choice activists were disappointed, claiming that the buffer zone is not needed because there are existing laws against trespassing.
City Councilwoman Sandra Reid told reporters “[The City Council] has no legislative power to tell anyone what to do with their body. We’re just here to assure that those persons seeking medical care can get there without being detained or harassed.”
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 11/16/12; ThinkProgress 11/16/12; Pennlive.com 11/14/12, 11/13/12
Grunge rubber stamp with name of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, vector illustration photo from Shutterstock.