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Columbus Abortion Clinics to Be Protected by New Buffer Zone

Mike Gonidakis

Columbus has passed a law setting up a “buffer zone” around its two abortion clinics, keeping protestors at least 15 feet away and increasing the penalties for violators who commit disorderly conduct. 

Ohio Right to Life’s Mike Gonidakis says he’s holding out for the American Civil Liberties Union to do something about the ordinance.

“I’m waiting for their lawsuit because we’ll sue if they don’t.  But we’re waiting for them to go first. They sued in Cleveland for the RNC. They should be doing the same in Columbus.”

But Jaime Miracle with NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio says the cases aren’t comparable because the Columbus law doesn’t ban speech – it bans protestors from blocking clinic access or trying to restrain people from going in.  

“We’re not saying you can’t protest within 15 feet. We’re saying you can’t commit these acts within 15 feet of the clinic.”

Miracle says some people trying to go into clinics have been grabbed. But Gonidakis disputes that, saying protestors are peaceful.  Miracle says she’s heard from cities across the state and country which are considering similar “buffer zone” legislation.