Federal judge grants buffer zone in front of abortion clinic ahead of week long protest
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ)- The city of Louisville is preparing for what’s scheduled to be a week long protest of the EMW Women’s Clinic, the last abortion clinic in the state.
Hundreds of anti-abortion protesters from across the U.S. are coming to Louisville and local authorities, along with the federal government are doing what they can to make sure the demonstration stays peaceful.
A federal judge ruled today to create a buffer zone in front of the last remaining abortion clinic in the entire state.
This ruling coming just one day before hundreds of anti-abortion protesters are scheduled to converge on Louisville for what is described as a week long campaign to shut this clinic down.
The temporary buffer zone will cover about a 15 by 7 and a half foot area in front of the clinic where no protesters will be allowed to stand.
The zone is being put in place to protect people going in and out of the clinic over the next week as hundreds of anti-abortion protesters are expected to picket in front of the building.
Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union say this buffer zone will help ensure the safety of staff and patients but protesters say it hinders their right to free speech.
“The individuals who have blockaded the clinic have a clear record of breaking the law and this order prohibits those individuals and anyone working with them from preventing patients from entering or exiting the clinic,” said Brigitte Amiri with the ACLU.
“I think it’s a total overreaction. I think that it crushes the first amendment rights of those who oppose abortion. I understand why they want to keep the access open to the facility, I get that, but it sends a chilling effect against those who oppose abortion,” said Mark Harrington, director of Created Equal, a pro-life organization.
The protests are scheduled to begin tomorrow and run through the end of next week.
Law enforcement officials say they plan on enforcing this buffer zone fully and will arrest any protester that crosses into it.