A federal court has issued a restraining order requiring protestors to keep their distance from abortion clinics and doctor’s offices in the Western district of New York.
The restraining order was issued by U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara of Buffalo yesterday after lawyers for the state, the Pro-Choice Network of Western New York and others argued that larger buffer zones were necessary to keep clinic entrances open and to maintain peace during anti-abortion protests.
Arcara cited the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act as justification for the new restraining order, which prohibits protesters from coming within 15 feet of two doctors’ offices in Amherst and Rochester, seven Planned Parenthood clinics in Buffalo, West Seneca, North Tonawanda, Niagara Falls, Lockport, Batavia and Greece, and Buffalo’s Highland and Genesee Hospitals.
Larger buffer zones were granted for the Buffalo GYN Womenservices clinic (60 feet in some directions, slightly less in others) and the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Rochester (50 feet). The Buffalo GYN Womenservices clinic was the former employer of slain abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian, who was murdered in his Amherst home last October.
Several hundred anti-abortion protesters are expected to descend on Buffalo during a “Operation Save America” event scheduled for April 18-25. Organized by Operation Rescue National, the event will include public demonstrations at Buffalo and Rochester area clinics, doctor’s offices, schools, and bookstores.