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.
Hat Tip: SFist
PHOTO: Protestors outside Valencia Planned Parenthood clinic in 2011, by peephole