Pro-life groups challenge Louisville buffer zone ordinance – Catholic Telegraph
by Kate Scanlon
Washington DC, June 30, 2021 / 6:00 PM
Pro-life groups this week challenged a “buffer zone” ordinance approved by the city of Louisville, Kentucky.
Kentucky Today reported that attorney representing pro-life group Kentucky Right to Life and Louisville nonprofit Sisters for Life filed a brief Monday for a temporary injunction on the “buffer zone” order of 10 feet approved by the Louisville Metro Council in May. . The ordinance prevents sidewalk counseling within 10 feet of health facilities, including the only state-licensed surgical abortion facility.
Addia Wuchner, executive director of Kentucky Right to Life, told CNA in a phone interview that her organization advocates pro-life sidewalk counseling, an attempt to provide abortion-seeking women with alternatives as resources. parental and adoption.
“We are defending the right of sidewalk counselors, which is a ministry, to meet women entering, to present them with alternatives,” she said.
Wuchner said she was optimistic about the end of the buffer zone, arguing that sidewalk councilors have a First Amendment right in their ministry, and that the Supreme Court found a comparable law in violation of the First Amendment. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled against a 35-foot buffer order in Massachusetts, which restricted access to sidewalks and other public spaces.
However, in 2020, the High Court dismissed challenges to the eight-foot and 20-foot buffer zones in Chicago and Harrisburg, Pa.
“I think it’s unconstitutional,” Wuchner said of the Louisville order. “You are actually giving a private company the right to this sidewalk, which is a public entity paid for by taxpayers.”
Kentucky Today reported that Jefferson County District Attorney Michael O’Connell, who represents the city’s Metro Council, argued that the buffer zone is necessary because protesters “harass, stalk, intimidate and assault incoming patients. and leaving the clinic “.
Wuchner said the buffer zone prevents members of pro-life ministries from making any real effort to provide women with information about alternatives to abortion.
“Children were saved thanks to this intimate conversation with a sidewalk counselor as women entered to have an abortion,” Wuchner said.
The city set up in 2017 a temporary buffer zone around the abortion center which local Catholics opposed.
While sitting on the Seventh United States Court of Appeals, new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett ruled in favor of the Supreme Court precedent, in a case where the Chicago’s eight-foot abortion facility has been challenged.
Barrett has joined the majority of the Seventh Circuit court in upholding the city’s rule. The majority opinion, which Barrett endorsed, stated that “[w]Although the Supreme Court deeply disturbed ”the decision in Hill v. Colorado, a 2000 ruling that upheld Colorado’s eight-foot buffer zone, the court “did not overturn the ruling.” It therefore remains binding for us.