City Looks at Issues Surrounding Protestors at Abortion Clinic

Greeters on behalf of Planned Parenthood in Front of the Clinic.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,482)

Every Friday and Saturday morning, a group of about fifteen  anti-abortionists stand in front of the Planned Parenthood administrative office and clinic at 443 Congress Street.  Some of the protestors hold signs of fetuses that no one wants to see – much less a woman about to undergo an abortion on the second floor of the clinic.  The protestors aren’t doing anything illegal, although they do try to engage you in conversation so they can somehow justify yelling and screaming back at you. Planned Parenthood,  the non-profit, is tired of this behavior and would like it to stop.

After months of discussions between city officials and Planned Parenthood officials, the matter will be brought to the forefront at a workshop of the Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday, at 6 pm at city hall.  It’s a workshop to gather information. No public comment will be taken and no decisions will be made at the meetng. It’s expected, however, that both sides of the issue will have strong presences at the Committee meeting.

Ideally, Planned Parenthood would like to have the city council pass a 35. ft. buffer zone ordinance around its building door. Passage of such an ordinance would force protestors to retreat back to Monument Square to protest the abortion clinic.

Councilor Ed Suslovic, chair of the Committee, said this afternoon in a telephone interview that no proposal on the matter has been set for the meeting.   “This is largely to get other committee members up to speed.”  Passing a 35 ft. buffer zone ordinance around the entrance to the abortion clinic on Congress Street would probably invite a lawsuit from somewhere or possibly other ramifications could develop as a result of the publicity.

“There has been no criminal activity, but the behavior is not acceptable,”  Suslovic said.  “It’s a balancing act.”

Massachusetts has a 35 ft. buffer zone law which is being challenged in the Supreme Court around which there is lots of uncertainity, Suslovic said.

No one from Planned Parenthood was available for comment today.

For more background information, please see Post # 1,432, dated 6/5/13.