In 2009 the Chicago City Council passed a bubble-zone ordinance muzzling free speech in front of abortuaries at the behest of Planned Parenthood (PP). Now local pro-lifers are saying that a series of recent incidents show that the abortion giant is willing to lie to officers about the provisions of the ordinance in order to silence pro-life counselors.
According to the Pro-Life Action League, pro-lifers David and Darlene were counseling outside of an abortion mill last Thursday. Since pro-abortion “clinic escorts” only come to mills on Saturday, their efforts were unobstructed, and they were able to stand next to the Planned Parenthood entrance without hindrance.
A Planned Parenthood director, however, threatened to call police if they did not move.
Twenty minutes later, an officer arrived and went inside the building. After he came out he reportedly told the pro-life counselors to move 50 feet away from the door.
The 2009 amendment to the City’s Disorderly Conduct Ordinance, however, allows pro-lifers to come within 50 feet of the building’s door. In actuality, the law creates a 50-foot “bubble zone” around abortuaries within which pro-life protestors are not permitted to approach within eight feet of any individual going into the clinic without that individual’s consent.
The counselors asked the officer if he had read the ordinance, and he said he had not. When his sergeant arrived, the sergeant threatened to arrest them unless they moved eight feet from the door of the Planned Parenthood, which the pro-lifers say was another clear misreading of the ordinance.
According to the Pro-Life Action League, the pro-lifers again pointed out that the text of the ordinance clearly permitted them to counsel as they were doing. Eventually the police permitted them to remain as they were.
“All in all, it was a successful day in challenging the bubble zone,” wrote David. “I expect the next set of cops to interpret it another way, but we can always reference today’s non-citation to bolster our defense.”
The League also reports that officers have previously misinterpreted the law. In January, an officer told pro-life counselors that they could not come within eight feet of the Planned Parenthood doorway.
Again, in February one officer told sidewalk counselors not to come “within ten feet of the doorway … that’s panhandlng.”
“Planned Parenthood is building a reputation with the police as a place that lies,” wrote the Pro-Life Action League’s projects coordinator, Corrina Gura. “They give the officers their version of what they wish the law said, then they ask the police to enforce their imaginary law.”
The 40 Days for Life prayer vigil was among the reasons given in support of the “bubble zone” when Planned Parenthood was attempting to get it passed.
When the ordinance was proposed, even the ACLU had opposed it for excessively burdening free speech.