Lawsuit filed against Chicago over abortion clinic “bubble zone”

abortion clinic escort

As Live Action News previously reported, last week, Pro-Life Action League announced its intent to file suit against Chicago over the city’s confusing “bubble zone” law, which makes it illegal to approach within eight feet of someone who is moving toward an abortion facility once that person is within fifty feet of the entrance, unless the person grants permission.

On Monday, the Thomas More Society filed the lawsuit in federal court.

The lawsuit claims that the bubble zone law violates the constitutional rights of pro-lifers, based on the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The law is unconstitutional both on its face, and in the way it has been selectively enforced against pro-lifers, according to the complaint.

Thomas Olp, Senior Counsel at the Thomas More Society, explained…

Pro-life advocates are being singled out and their Constitutional protections are being trampled by Chicago’s “bubble zone” ordinance – a law created solely to discriminate against people who wish to offer abortion-bound women information about alternatives to abortion.

Olp noted that no other industry is sheltered in the same way the abortion industry is, and asserted that Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel (one of those named in the suit) and his administration are “partnering with abortion vendors to violate the rights” of pro-lifers.


The lawsuit alleges that in addition to the law itself being unconstitutional, police have repeatedly enforced it inaccurately and unjustly, including:

  • Telling pro-lifers that they could not come within 150 feet of an abortion clinic
  • Insisting that pro-lifers could only hand literature to those who asked for it
  • Determining that the law forbids any verbal expression from pro-life sidewalk counselors
  • Imposing bubble zones outside the bubble zone, telling pro-lifers they could not approach within 8 feet of someone heading to the abortion clinic – even outside the fifty foot bubble zone

Pro-Life Action League Vice-President Ann Scheidler is confident that the Chicago pro-life community will soon be free from the unconstitutional restrictions of the bubble zone. “I feel confident we will prevail in court,” she said. “Only two years ago, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down a ‘buffer zone’ law in Massachusetts. Now it’s time for Chicago’s unconstitutional ‘bubble zone’ to burst.”

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