US District Judge Nora Barry Fischer heard arguments this week on a lawsuit challenging a Philadelphia city ordinance that established safety buffer zones around reproductive health clinics. The ordinance requires protesters at abortion clinics to stay at least 8 feet away from clinics patients and 15 feet away from clinic entrances.
The lawsuit was filed last year by the anti-abortion Christian group the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of Mary Kathryn Brown, a local woman who protests at Philadelphia clinics. Attorneys for Brown claim that the safety buffer zones violate her freedom of speech, reports the Associated Press. They are now seeking an injunction against the ordinance for Brown to continue her protests while the case proceeds.
The city passed the ordinance in response to reports of harassment from clinic patients. “This is an area where the city saw a need to protect the citizens at these health care facilities,” said city attorney Michael Kennedy, reports the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.