U.S. Supreme Declines to Hear Abortion Protest Case

The U.S. Supreme Court refused, without comment, to hear two separate appeals cases concerning Santa Barbara’s restrictions on how close anti-abortion demonstrators can come to abortion clinics and their patients.

The city of Santa Barbara bars anti-abortion demonstrators from coming within 8 feet of clinic entrances and driveways. The ordinance, originally passed in 1993 but blocked by years of court challenges, also restricts “demonstration activity” near health facilities and places of worship. The city had also sought a “floating buffer zone” that would have ordered demonstrators to stay at least 8 feet away from any clinic staff or patient who asked them to do so within 100 feet of a clinic, but lost this bid when a federal appeals court struck down this provision last year.

In the recent appeals refused by the U.S. Supreme Court, the city appealed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to strike down the “floating buffer zone,” while two anti-abortion protestors appealed the Court’s decision to uphold the provision which keeps protesters 8 feet from clinic entrances and driveways.


AP - March 8, 1999

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