Oakland May Add New Safety Policy at Abortion Clinics
On Tuesday, the Oakland City Council's Public Safety Committee unanimously approved an ordinance to establish safety zones around abortion clinics to protect patients and staff from harassment and other troublesome behavior, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
City officials contend that federal and state laws provide some protections to clinic patients, but penalties are rarely handed down for lower-level cases of harassment.
Officials also note that the laws do not protect clinic staff and lack significant penalties.
The proposed ordinance would establish an 8-foot safety barrier around patients, staff and people accompanying patients.
The ordinance would impose penalties of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
The plan is opposed by anti-abortion activists who argue that it conflicts with their freedom of speech.
The full City Council will consider the ordinance on Nov. 6 (Heredia, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/24).