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Painted ‘buffer zone’ now protects Louisville abortion clinic from protesters

In May, the Louisville Metro Council passed a safety zone law that allows for a 10-foot buffer...
In May, the Louisville Metro Council passed a safety zone law that allows for a 10-foot buffer between the EMW Women's Surgical Center, Kentucky's only licensed abortion clinic, and protesters.(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 5:09 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 5:21 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Painted lines now surround the entrance of the only abortion clinic in Kentucky, representing protesters’ inability to stand too close to those entering or leaving the building.

In May, the Louisville Metro Council passed a safety zone law that allowed for a 10-foot buffer between the building and protesters to be put in place.

Patients and employees at the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville have said they are often harassed as they enter and leave the building by anti-abortion advocates. Those pro-life demonstrators have said they have the right to talk to women who walk into the clinic to get an abortion.

The Louisville Safety Zone coalition said the goal of helping to get the safety zone law passed was to put in place “a narrow path for people entering and exiting the healthcare facility while preserving protester’s rights to free speech and assembly.” The coalition is made up of the Kentucky Health Justice Network, the EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Louisville Clinic Escorts, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates East and the Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Metro Councilwoman Cassie Chambers Armstrong (D-District 8) said the public space protection order will have a significant impact.

“These simple lines will make a big impact on people’s ability to access healthcare safely,” Armstrong said in a statement. “I am thankful to all of those that have helped advocate for a safety zone. It is an honor to stand with you in support of patient dignity and safety.”

Metro Public Health and Wellness and the Louisville Metro Police Department will receive all reports involving incidents within the buffer zone.

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