Harrisburg Abortion Buffer Zone Back in Court

Oct 31, 2017

Today, Liberty Counsel is in court presenting evidence and arguments against a Harrisburg ordinance that created unconstitutional buffer zones to silence pro-life speech on public property and sidewalks around abortion clinics.

Liberty Counsel represents Becky Biter and Colleen Reilly, who have regularly engaged in peaceful sidewalk counseling to encourage women to protect the life of their unborn child. Biter and Reilly have been harassed and intimated by clinic staff and the local police since the ordinance passed. This ordinance pushes pro-life counselors sometimes 50 feet to more than 70 feet away and prohibits their freedom of speech. Liberty Counsel is presenting evidence and argument today concerning the ordinance’s gross intrusion into Biter and Reilly’s constitutional rights. Liberty Counsel will show that the city of Harrisburg blatantly ignored its constitutional obligations to protect speech by imposing an ideological ban on pro-life speech in a traditional public forum where the First Amendment provides the most robust protection.

Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent Harrisburg from enforcing the ordinance as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment. Despite the United States Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in McCullen v. Coakley, which struck down similar buffer zones, the district court denied injunctive relief in August 2016.

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