Possible 20-foot buffer proposed at Kentucky's only remaining abortion clinic

The right to privacy versus the right to free speech. It's a battle over who should have access to the sidewalk leading to Kentucky's only remaining abortion clinic EMW Women's Surgical Center, on Market Street.

LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- They are situations abortion rights supporters say should not happen at Louisville's Women's Surgical Center:  Face to face confrontations, even sit-ins that prevent people from entering Kentucky's only remaining abortion clinic.

"We don't want any shoving, pushing," one woman said during Wednesday's Metro Council public safety committee hearing.  About a dozen people spoke about a possible 20-foot buffer that would prevent people from approaching women who are either entering or leaving the center.

"To me, the fear and intimidation. The emotional impact that you have to walk through somebody wanting to force their right," said another woman.

The fight for the sidewalk continued outside.  Faith groups not calling it a public safety issue, but a moral one. 

"If the metro council attempts to stop Christians from being able to use public sidewalks to proclaim the Gospel, we will have no option but to disobey," said Sovereign King Church Pastor Joseph Spurgeon.

LMPD says the only major disturbance at the clinic happened in May.  Ten people were arrested for trespassing.  A federal complaint was filed against them prohibiting them from blocking the center's entrance.

"This is about the safety of women coming to access legally acceptable medical care," one woman remarked.

Another said, "This is the United States of America and I hope that no one is going to tell me that I can't stand on a public sidewalk and pray to people."

The committee did not take any action.  It was only a discussion.  Right now, no metro council member has taken an interest in a creating a new ordinance.

 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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