Last week, the Chicago city council passed an ordinance mandating anti-choice protestors maintain a safe distance away from clinics and facilities that provide abortion services. The ordinance establishes a 50 foot buffer zone and authorizes fining any protestor who gets within 8 feet of a patient without their consent $500, NBC Chicago reports.
Chicago’s Mayor, Richard Daley, who in 1996 spoke publicly against a similar proposed measure, expressed his support for the ordinance last week in a surprising political turnaround. “If someone is going into a medical complex and I disagree with them going there, I should not harass and scream and yell at them. It doesn’t matter whether it deals with the word abortion or anything else,” the mayor told Chicago Sun-Times. Mayor Daley is both Catholic and pro-choice.
Though ordinance will likely be challenged in court, there is an established legal precedent supporting similar buffer zone legislation. The US Supreme Court has upheld buffer zones in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Florida.