Thursday, December 18, 2008

NYC Bill to Protect Abortion Clinic Staff and Patients Expected to Pass

New York City Council speaker, Christine Quinn proposed a bill in September that would protect patients and abortion providers from anti-choice harassment. The bill would allow those who had been harassed, including clinic employees, to file charges against protesters. The bill is largely supported in the City Council and is expected to pass as early as this week according to the New York Times.

Council member Quinn credits the creation of the bill to NARAL Pro-Choice New York, who brought the harassment by protesters to Quinn’s attention 6 months ago. NARAL Pro-Choice New York informed the Councilwoman that the protesters have been consistently harassing targeted clinics for at least two years. While anti-choice zealots have been protesting clinics for decades, recent anti-choice campaigns, like the 40 Days for Life, had them camped out in front of clinics for extended periods of times. While the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 prevents protesters from blocking entrances, they are still able to display grotesque pictures, distribute false information, and verbally harass clinic workers and patients. Kudos to NARAL Pro-Choice New York and Councilmember Christine Quinn for protecting women’s ability to make private medical decisions without the inference of anti-choice extremists. Let’s hope this bill will encourage other states to acknowledge and address the severity of clinic harassment.

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