Members of the Louisville Metro Council have approved an ordinance that will make it harder for pro-lifers to pray and evangelize outside abortion facilities in the Kentucky city.
According to the Kentucky Sentinel Echo, the new mandate creates a 10-foot buffer zone around the entrance of these facilities. Pro-life protestors and sidewalk counselors will be prohibited from entering or lingering within the zone, and they are also prohibited from stopping anyone who is entering the building. Violators will receive a citation as well as a fine ranging from $150 to $500 on their first offense, while a second conviction within a year of the first violation will result in a fine of $250 to $500.
While the new ordinance pertains to all medical clinics, it is clearly aimed at the city’s abortion facility, EMW Women’s Surgical Center, where a pro-life woman was assaulted in 2019. Testimony from both pro-life advocates and a doctor who works at EMW was heard during the council meeting, while the Sentinel Echo reports that pro-lifers also prayed outside the council meeting as they urged members to vote no. In the end, the ordinance passed narrowly with a vote of 14-11, with four Democrats joining Republicans in opposition.
Peaceful and prayerful pro-life counselors provide an important, life-saving witness to women as they enter the abortion facility. In many instances, mothers who arrive at abortion appointments do so because they believe there are no other options available. Pro-life counselors are able to provide women with appropriate counseling and help when it’s needed most. (The 40 Days for Life campaign is just one example of how successful this type of approach can be).
Addia Wuchner, Executive Director of Kentucky Right to Life, put out a statement following the council’s vote explaining the importance of sidewalk counselors. “This vote denies women the compassionate walk-beside-you help that is needed at this critical moment. Many women do not realize that there is help available for them and their babies,” she said. “The sidewalk counselors are there to exercise their First Amendment Right to free speech, but more importantly they assure the woman that she is not alone and compassionately extend information on alternatives and support resources as they try to save the life of her unborn child.”
Wuchner closed her statement with an important reminder that sidewalk counselors are there to save both mother and baby. “The Council members who voted for the buffer zone seem not to realize that every life has intrinsic value and the child deserves our compassion as much as the mother,” she wrote.
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