Supreme Court Decision Amps Up Protestors at Valencia Planned Parenthood Clinic

Recently, a unanimous US Supreme Court decision invalidated a Massachusetts law that created protest-free “buffer zones” around clinics that provide abortion services, on the grounds that the law violates the First Amendment right to free speech. San Francisco has a similar buffer-zone law, which has been much appreciated at the Planned Parenthood on Valencia Street in recent years.

Yet because of the Supreme Court ruling, San Francisco’s law also is in jeopardy, and Bernal’s Plannned Parenthood clinic reports that incidents of harassment by protesters are on the rise — although City officials are reluctant to do much about it. The Chronicle has the story:

Planned Parenthood executives say San Francisco police and the city attorney aren’t doing enough to protect patients and staff from “harassment and intimidation” at the organization’s health center on Valencia Street.

“Each week, as the harassment and intimidation escalate … the city’s ordinances are violated ever more flagrantly,” Planned Parenthood’s Bay Area chapter leader, Heather Saunders Estes, wrote in a July 22 letter to City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

And when center staffers call police, they are told that “there is nothing they can do,” Saunders Estes wrote.

The latest protest rift was brought on by last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down Massachusetts’ 35-foot no-protest zone around clinics.

The protesters now ignore San Francisco’s 25-foot buffer zone as they pass out literature, and film staffers and patients entering the building, clinic reps complain.

SFist adds that “Planned Parenthood’s Bay Area chapter asks volunteer escorts to sign up here.”

Hat Tip: SFist

PHOTO: Protestors outside Valencia Planned Parenthood clinic in 2011, by peephole

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12 thoughts on “Supreme Court Decision Amps Up Protestors at Valencia Planned Parenthood Clinic

  1. Will the counter-protest include signs saying “Your mother made the wrong choice” or would that be too inciting?

  2. Also, if it wasn’t two men doing the protesting, I would feel a little different about it. It’s always annoying to see men protesting a women’s issue.

  3. The best solution is for Planned Parenthood to move to a building within a shopping center or into an office building because court rulings so far have restricted protests to the curb of the property, respecting the private property rights of malls, office buildings, etc. Once some years ago when I was involved in a protest against JC Penney, which had an anti-gay hiring policy at the time, we protested at Southland Mall in Hayward where the largest Penneys was located. Our protest was totally ineffective because we could only picket at the edge of their 5,000 car parking lot, about 1/4 mile from the store.

  4. Those protesters never honored the 35′ buffer zone, they’ve been right out front as long as I’ve noticed them. There is also still a protected floating 10′ buffer zone around patients and staff that group is not respecting, and there unfortunately seems to be no practical way to enforce it.

    I wish Burger King would just tow their damn cars, but they’ve got enough to deal with.

  5. Pingback: Local Ladies Use Unicorn Power to Counter Bernal Planned Parenthood Protests | Bernalwood

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