Anti-Choice Group Challenges Pittsburgh Clinic Ordinance

An anti-abortion group known as the Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit this week challenging Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s law requiring a 15-foot buffer zone around clinics. The ordinance was passed in December, and prohibits protestors from coming within 15 feet of a clinic or within eight feet of an individual patient. Violators would be fined for their first three offenses, and could face 30-day imprisonment for subsequent violations. Alliance Defense Fund is suing on behalf of a woman who alleges “viewpoint discrimination,” saying she was threatened with arrest when she approached a patient, but was allowed to distribute anti-pornography material near the clinic without threat of arrest.

Susan Frietsche, senior staff attorney for the Women’s Law Project, described the suit as “an attempt by outsiders to attack a law that is really working well for the citizens of Pittsburgh,” reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Claire Keyes, director of the Allegheny Reproductive Health Center agreed the law was effective, telling the Post-Gazette, “It certainly has helped. We are not getting nearly as many complaints from patients that they are being grabbed or leaflets shoved in their pockets.”

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Feminist Daily News 12/15/05; Kaiser 3/29/06; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 3/28/06

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