The Pittsburgh City Council voted on Tuesday to approve a city ordinance that would protect women entering clinics from aggressive anti-abortion protesters. The ordinance establishes a buffer zone between protesters and patients at health care facilities, prohibits protesters from getting within 15 feet of facilities and bars protesters from getting within 8 feet of patients who are less than 100 feet from the door of a clinic, unless the patient consents. Violators of the ordinance would be fined $50 for the first offense, $150 for the second and $300 for the third. For four or more offenses, a violator could be sentenced to up to 30 days in prison.
The ordinance is a win for local women’s groups, including the Downtown-based Women’s Law Project and Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Women’s Law Project considered the passage of the ordinance a victory for clients who are “often subjected to intensely confrontational and sometimes physically intimidating protest activity” outside clinic facilities.