There’s been an uptick in the activity recently. We saw it first when Obama was elected, and again after Dr. Tiller’s murder.
It’s both the number of protesters who are outside, and the aggressiveness of their tactics. We’ve got protesters who are impersonating medical personnel, giving “advice.” And we’ve got protesters wearing bright yellow vests with “Parenthood volunteer” and a cross that looks amazingly like Planned Parenthood’s logo—so they look just like our volunteers. Anything they can to do confuse, harass, and intimidate. It’s gotten really bad, especially at our Near North health center.
That’s why we pushed for the buffer zone ordinance. It was introduced at a city council meeting last month, and went for a vote in the human relations committee two weeks ago. The full city council voted on Wednesday. It passed 28 to 13, and should be in force by mid-November.
Starting then, protesters will have to stay at least eight feet away from people outside health centers. The safe space will exist within 50 feet of the entrance of all health centers. Those who get too close will face a fine. It doesn’t stop the harassment, but it’s a start.
Some people have gotten used to the protesters and say they’re fine as long as they obey laws and stay out of our way. But the patients aren’t fine. They’re coming in upset, angry. It’s not fair for them to be in the middle of this war zone.
I am so proud to work for Planned Parenthood, to be fighting for the issues I care about—reproductive rights, women’s health care, and access to health care, which is my passion. I fight for those issues every day. Particularly when you hear stories of what’s going on on the front lines, to be able to change public policy to make a difference in the lives of teens, women, and those in need — it’s very rewarding.
Protesters: anywhere from 8-20
I am Emily X.
I am Planned Parenthood.