2009-11-05 / Local & State

Court Rejects Pa. Buffer Law On Abortion Clinics

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A federal appeals court has struck down a Pittsburgh ordinance that created two types of buffer zones around abortion clinics.

In a ruling issued Friday, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the 2005 Pittsburgh ordinance unduly restricted protesters from passing out leaflets and participating in other forms of free speech. The Pittsburgh law bans protesters from standing within 15 feet of entrances but also makes them stand 8 feet from clients in a 100-foot buffer around entrances.

The court says either zone by itself could be legal. But the court found that, combined, the zones violate the free speech rights of the protesters who find it difficult to hand leaflets to clinic clients.

City attorneys say they won’t comment on the ruling until they have a chance to review it.

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