Buffer Zone Created at Last Abortion Clinic in Kentucky

Protesters will converge on clinic this weekend
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 22, 2017 8:00 AM CDT
Influx of Protests Planned at Kentucky's Last Abortion Clinic
Meg Stern, left, and other escort volunteers lined up outside the EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville, Ky. A federal judge issued an order Friday to keep protesters away from a "buffer zone" outside Kentucky's only abortion clinic, which is targeted by a national anti-abortion group.   (Dylan Lovan)

Both sides in the abortion fight raging in Kentucky agree on one thing: The stakes are as high as ever in a state that could become the first in the nation without an abortion clinic. Political pressure has intensified since the Kentucky GOP took control of state government and moved quickly to pass new restrictions on abortions. And Republican Gov. Matt Bevin makes no apologies for waging a licensing fight against a Louisville clinic that is the last remaining facility performing abortions in the state. Save America, a Christian fundamentalist group, plans to mobilize hundreds of activists to protest against EMW Women's Surgical Center this weekend, reports the AP. The group's leaders state their purpose unequivocally: to rid Kentucky of its last abortion clinic.

The group has said it won't use the same tactics that got some of its members arrested in a spring protest outside EMW in the coming days, but a federal judge on Friday ordered the creation of a "buffer zone" to keep protesters out of an area in front of the clinic. The pre-emptive move was requested by federal prosecutors to prevent protesters from blocking access to the surgical center. "We have never been under siege like this," Dr. Ernest Marshall, a co-founder of the clinic, open since the early 1980s, recently told the AP. "We have never had any question as to whether we would exist." Texas-based Operation Save America will also converge on Louisville for a weeklong vigil. Brigitte Amiri, an attorney for the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said the buffer zone gives patients a "small measure of relief," ensuring they can enter. (More abortion stories.)

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