Sacramento County Supervisors Vote To Establish No-Protest Zone Around Reproductive Health Clinics
The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 3-2 to create a 20-foot no-protest buffer zone around reproductive health clinics and doctors' offices where abortions are performed in the county, the Sacramento Bee reports (Korber, Sacramento Bee, 12/3). The proposed law follows a July court order in which Superior Court Judge James Long established a 20-foot "speech-free" zone around the Women's Health Specialists clinic in Arden after abortion-rights advocates said in court that protesters were hindering women's access to the clinics. San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose have approved similar ordinances. Under Sacramento's proposed ordinance, if protesters crossed the buffer zone, they would be charged with a misdemeanor (California Healthline, 12/2). Violators of the proposed law could face fines of as much as $500 and imprisonment in county jails for as long as three months. There will be a final vote on the proposal next week.
Supervisor Illa Collin, who voted in favor of the proposal, said that it is "[n]eeded not only for the safety of women, but with the clear understanding by protesters that their speech will be heard -- but they have to respect boundaries." Abortion rights opponent Margie Reilly, who protests at the Arden clinic every Saturday, said, "This ordinance tells people of faith that Christianity can only be practiced in church but not on the streets of Sacramento" (Sacramento Bee, 12/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.