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Pro-Life Law Firm Sues Oakland

  Law Firm News  -   POSTED: 2007/12/21 17:55

A pro-life law firm has filed suit against the city of Oakland for approving an expanded bubble zone that would keep abortion protesters and sidewalk counselors further away from abortion businesses. The Life Legal Defense Foundation filed suit on behalf of pro-life advocate Walter B. Hoye II to keep the city from enforcing the law.

The city council approved the 8-foot zone around the entrances to abortion facilities on Tuesday.

The new ordinance makes it unlawful, and punishable by up to one year in jail, to go within that distance of an abortion business unless heading there for an abortion. It applies to protesters as well as sidewalk counselors who help women with alternatives.

LLDF's suit maintains that the ordinance is a content and viewpoint-based restriction of speech and is unconstitutional.

Hoye regularly engages in pro-life counseling and leafleting at the Family Planning Specialists abortion center in Oakland. Two elderly women from his church often join him.

Hoye told the Oakland City Council that "We are not a threat to public safety and these women aren't even capable of harassing clinic clients."

Their activities include handing out leaflets, education about abortion and holding signs with a pro-life message. All of these activities occur on the public sidewalk.

Local attorney Mike Millen, who filed the lawsuit in conjunction with LLDF, talked about it in a statement sent to LifeNews.com.

"Rather than helping women, this ordinance prevents them from receiving valuable information about their developing baby and options which would let that baby live," he said.

Millen added, "It is sad that city leaders are spending time and money on laws that maximize revenue for the abortion industry at the expense of the health of women and babies."

The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order blocking the ordinance.

City Attorney John Russo told the San Francisco Chronicle he thinks the lawsuit will fail and claimed it is about stopping harassment, not First Amendment rights.

"They can distribute literature in City Hall Plaza and on just about any street corner," Russo said. "What they cannot do is harass or intimidate women who are exercising their right to choose and right to privacy."

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