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International norms: MOST European nations do not allow elective abortion (8) or limit it to 15 weeks or earlier (39). In contrast, 0 of 50 U.S. states limit abortion to 15 weeks or earlier. In fact, the USA is among a ‘Group of 7’ nations which do allow late-term abortions. This G7 includes: Canada, China, the Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.
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“We are initially disappointed with Judge Jennings’ ruling but respectfully thankful that she did not dismiss the case. She noted that summary judgment was not proper and requested more proof of the reasons the buffer zone would hinder the sidewalk ministry. She denied the the request for dismissal by the defendants.” - Addia Wuchner, Executive Director, Kentucky Right to Life.
The Courier-Journal reported:
Sisters for Life “must be given a reasonable opportunity to present material detailing what the practical effects of the 10-foot buffer zone would be on their sidewalk counseling efforts,” wrote District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings…
It’s also possible, however, the city could reach an agreement with Sisters for Life to delay creating the buffer zone. A previous agreement suspended the implementation while the judge considered motions in the lawsuit.
Kentucky Today reported:
Jennings denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss because of “remaining fact issues” in the case, which included the plaintiff providing “arguments tailored to the actual effect of the Ordinance” and the defendants demonstrating that “less-restrictive alternatives were tried and failed, or that the alternatives were closely examined and ruled out for good reason.”
Stay tuned for further developments.
Update on Buffer Zone5:19 PM | July 15, 2021
“Kentucky Right to Life and all of our prowoman prolife advocates are pleased that our pursuit of litigation has resulted in the city permitting sidewalk counseling ministry to continue by extending the temporary emergency injunction as we await Judge Jennings’ decision on the matter” - Addia Wuchner, Executive Director, Kentucky Right to Life.
TESSA REDMOND | July 8, 2021 | Kentucky Today
Louisville Metro Government calls for summary judgment in ‘buffer zone’ lawsuit
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Louisville Metro Government filed the final brief regarding its motion to dismiss a pro-life lawsuit opposing the contentious “buffer zone” ordinance on Wednesday.
The lawsuit was first filed on June 8 by Ky Right to Life and Sisters for Life, a pro-life sidewalk counseling ministry, on the grounds that the ordinance infringed upon their constitutional rights of free speech and free exercise of religion. Attorneys reached a temporary agreement until July 16, when the buffer zone surrounding the EMW Women’s Surgical Center, one of two women’s health clinics providing abortions in the state, will go into effect.
This final brief, submitted by Jefferson County Attorney Michael O’Connell, follows both a memorandum opposing the city’s motion and a reply seeking injunctive relief, which was filed by the plaintiffs in Western District Court on June 28.
“The Ordinance does not violate or substantially burden any of plaintiffs’ constitutional rights,” the brief read.
“The Ordinance creates time, place and manner restrictions on speech and assembly outside of healthcare facilities to ensure the safety of patients entering and exiting such facilities and to provide enforcement officers with bright-line rules which are both significant and legitimate government interests.”
In response to the lawsuit’s allegation that the ordinance is overbroad and restricts religious, pro-life speech, the brief claims the ordinance is content-neutral — meaning it “does not attempt to regulate the content of any individual’s speech” within the buffer zone outside of the EMW.
“Any restriction of plaintiff’s speech, freedom of assembly, and free exercise of religion are minimal and justified by the government’s significant interest in the subject Ordinance,” the brief read.
Under the ordinance, healthcare facilities are not required to establish buffer zones and must request one from Public Works. According to the brief, the EMW is the only facility to request the ordinance “given the unique and long history of violence and harassment at this location.”
Addia Wuchner, executive director of Ky Right to Life, stated there is a difference between sidewalk counseling ministry and protesting, which Metro Government identified as “assault, harassment, stalking and intimidation” in its reply.
“Our case is defending the right of sidewalk counselors, which is a ministry, to meet women and to present them with alternatives at a very critical moment in their life,” Wuchner said. “The buffer zone prevents that opportunity for more intimate communication.”
SIDEWALK COUNSELORS CONTINUE!
The parties have agreed that Ordinance O-179-21 (the “Ordinance”), prohibiting the sidewalk ministry from practicing their religious freedoms for half a city block claiming it is a “buffer zone” to EMW’s property, will not be enforced until July 16, 2021 in order to allow the attorneys involved to complete briefings.
Attorney Chris Wiest, who represents those having their rights violated by the Ordinance, stated, “I consider this a win in the first round, because it allows the ministry to continue.”
Addia Wuchner said, “We are pleased that our attorney has been able to broker a temporary agreement as we prepare for a full hearing in Western District Court. As a pro-life, pro-women organization, we believe that sidewalk ministry plays an important role in a woman’s right to have fully informed consent.”
A new and good wrinkle in the Buffer Zone (BZ) controversy in Louisville has arisen.
We are glad to report that Angela Minter and her organization, Sisters For Life, together with Kentucky Right To Life, filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against Louisville Metro, Mayor Greg Fisher, Louisville Metro Police Chief Ericka Shields, and Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell against Louisville’s new BZ ordinance, on the grounds that the new ordinance violates their free speech rights and prohibits them from practicing their faith.
The Sisters For Life regularly minister to women at the EMW abortion clinic in Louisville. In 2019, EMW performed 99.5% of all abortions in Kentucky. Angela and Sisters for Life saved 800 babies from having their lives cut short by ministering to women and their partners and revealing other life choices available to them for their child other than abortion, including adoption, free housing during and after the pregnancy, free child care, free help with college tuition if they choose not to abort their child, parenting resources including diapers, formula, clothes, parenting classes, counseling and more, such as information about child development that shows parents how developed their child is at the particular stage of their pregnancy.
Angela and Sisters For Life consider it essential to maintain a caring demeanor, a calm tone of voice, and direct eye contact while ministering to people on the sidewalk outside of the abortion clinic. They do not yell, protest with signs, or block the path. They walk beside women sharing information.
On May 20, 2021, the Metro Council passed Ordinance O-179-21 (the “Ordinance”), in a 14-11 divided vote prohibiting the sidewalk ministry from practicing their religious freedoms for half a city block claiming it is a “buffer zone” to EMW’s property.
Why are Louisville Metro Council, Mayor Fisher, Chief Shields and Attorney O’Connell so interested in limiting a women’s right to information? —in this instance, not only her rights to information about her body, services available to her family, but information some believe could protect her soul.
Margaret Sanger, who strategically placed abortion clinics in low-income black neighborhoods in a covert effort at genocide, proudly boasted that it was cheaper to kill poor children before they are born than to sustain them on welfare after birth.
If you limit a woman’s access to information, you limit her options
Chris Wiest, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, stated: “The City of Louisville should know better than to pass this flagrantly unconstitutional ordinance and we look forward to having it struck down.”
Addia Wuchner, Executive Director of Kentucky Right to Life issued the following statement: “Kentucky Right to Life and our members were disappointed by the decision to utilize buffer zones at the EMW abortion clinic. The Supreme Court has previously affirmed the sidewalk counselor ministry ensuring that women have the opportunity to make a fully informed consent. Kentucky Right to Life will continue to advocate for the protection of the unborn child and the First Amendment right of citizens to peacefully gather, pray, support women, and respectively bear witness in defense of innocent life. We stand in full support of the injunction filed by Angela Minter and Sisters for Life.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky.- While the Buffer Zone vote by the Louisville Metro Council was disappointing, it was not unexpected. We had hoped that the hearts and intellects of the members who express concern for safety would show true concern for vulnerable women about to make a decision that will affect them throughout their lives. To quote Mother Teresa, 'Abortion is a crime that not only kills the child but also the conscience of all involved.' We at Kentucky Right to Life are committed to protecting the lives of the unborn and the health and safety of women. This vote denies women the compassionate walk-beside-you help that is needed at the critical moment. Many women do not realize that there is help available for them and their babies..." Read Addia Wuchner's full statement.
See the Metro Council discussions and testimonies here.
C-J reports NO BUFFER ZONE!
The Louisville Metro Council on Thursday rejected an ordinance that would have allowed health care facilities, including abortion clinics, to create a buffer zone outside the entrances to their facilities.
The legislation, proposed this year after years of advocacy work by activists including the Kentucky Health Justice Network, failed in a 12-13 vote after lengthy discussion that at times verged into the ethics of abortion.
All seven Republicans — council members Kevin Kramer, R-11th; Scott Reed, R-16th; Parker; Anthony Piagentini, R-19th; Stuart Benson, R-20th; Robin Engel, R-21st; and James Peden, R-23rd — voted against the ordinance.
They were joined by six Democrats: Pat Mulvihill, D-10th; Rick Blackwell, D-12th; Mark Fox, D-13th; Cindi Fowler, D-14th; Madonna Flood, D-24th; and David Yates, D-25th.
TIME NOW to SAY THANKS! See email link for Council members below.
Updated August 19, 2:30 PM
FULL METRO COUNCIL VOTE ON BUFFER ZONE AUGUST 20
Many in the community have objected— Read the ordinance.
A long-time member of RTL shared the letter that he sent to the Council members. As he notes, “The resolution cites the COVID pandemic as a reason for its passage. Putting aside the fact that most of the protesters wear masks since COVID, isn’t it interesting how no council member has suggested that other protests observe a similar buffer zone for public safety. It seems that one group’s right to protest is deemed safe and another group’s protest must have a buffer.”
Updated August 14, 2020 7AM
Buffer Zone ordinance advances to full council
The Courier-Journal reported late Thursday that the Buffer Zone ordinance moved out of committee:
Legislation that would allow health care facilities, including abortion clinics, to create "buffer zones" outside their entrances to preserve access to services is one step closer to reality.
The Louisville Metro Council’s Community Affairs, Health and Education Committee voted 4-2 along partisan lines Wednesday to send the ordinance to the full Metro Council for its consideration, after more than two hours of discussion.
The legislation, which has been called for by advocates for several years, was made more urgent by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to sponsors who spoke at Wednesday's committee meeting.
Councilwoman Jessica Green, D-1st District, said the ordinance shouldn't be a debate about abortion because it is legal and “makes sense right now” because it has become a safety and public health issue.
The buffer zone (BZ) is back in the news. Nationally, it has steadily been debated and adjudicated for decades.
In June of 2014 the Supreme Court determined for Massachusetts that an abortion clinic buffer zone of 35-feet would violate the First Amendment. At that time Chief Justice Roberts said, “Such areas occupy a ‘special position in terms of First Amendment protection’ because of their historic role as sites for discussion and debate…”
But in early July (2020) SCOTUS declined to review an appeal on behalf of Colorado pro-lifers regarding a 2000 decision that upheld an 8-foot ‘bubble zone’ around people near an entrance to a clinic. This means that clinic access laws in Chicago and Harrisburg, Penn., will not be challenged as pro-lifers had hoped. The Chicago ordinance requires an 8-foot bubble zone around people within 50 feet of a clinic entrance and restricts specified types of free speech— protesting and counseling. The Harrisburg ordinance sets a 20-foot buffer zone.
In Louisville, the issue took front and center in the spring of 2017. KRLA reported on a Louisville Metro Council (LMC) meeting where the BZ was proposed and discussed on June 14, 2017. The photo shows some sidewalk counselors who attended the meeting, and their small sign relates the best reasons not to have a BZ: Free speech and Women have Right to Know.
Last January Councilman Robin Engle warned the peaceful protestors at the Louisville Rally for Life held on the Metro Hall steps, that LMC and BZ supporters were discussing a new effort. Robin said in response to the C-J story that followed, “I don’t know the distance being discussed in the version of the ordinance being proposed by abortion advocates. The Council tried to establish limits like this on free speech (in 2017), and there really isn’t much difference between 10, 20 and 50 feet.”
Fast-forward to August 2020: We are now being advised by the LMC that a 12-foot BZ is needed by ALL health clinics, double the six-foot “guidance” for COVID safety. The new ordinance, filed August 3, states: The Dept. of Public Works “shall, at the request of any healthcare facility, paint or lay on the public way or sidewalk easily distinguishable demarcation lines marking the buffer zone and post such zone with signage stating: ‘Healthcare facility: No standing or obstructions within this zone’ and citing this ordinance.”
The LMC Community Affairs, Health and Education Committee agenda states they will discuss the BZ at their August 12 meeting at 1:30 PM.
Louisville residents can find their Council representatives here. Email addresses are here. Address correspondence to: Louisville Metro Council, 601 West Jefferson St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Look for Louisville Safety Zone on Facebook and Twitter to view the community activism.
The COVID-19 virus is cited in the ordinance as a reason for the BZ:
WHEREAS, as of July 16, 2020, over 3,483,832 individuals in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19, with 21,083 of those cases being Kentucky citizens;
WHEREAS, as of July 16, 2020, over 136,938 individuals in the United States have died from COVID-19, with 650 of those deaths being Kentucky citizens; …
This means that of 326.7 million people in the U.S., one percent have or had the virus and .04% have died. As well, there are many stories in the media stating that numerous deaths are attributed to COVID among those who had other debilitating conditions.
Is this another instance of COVID-engineered societal lockdown?
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Posts on this page
9/8/2021 2:09:46 PMAn open-ended decision
7/11/2021 10:41:26 AM“Our case is defending the right of sidewalk counselors, which is a ministry, to meet women and to present them with alternatives at a very critical moment in their life,” Wuchner said…
6/8/2021 1:53:05 PMReligious freedoms are trampled as sidewalk counselors are silenced.
5/21/2021 7:56:38 PMBuffer Zone argued, defended, exposed as inequitable and uncompassionate
8/11/2020 2:48:13 PMNew ordinance requires 12-foot buffer zone for all health clinics