One of the “No Picketing” signs that will come down as a result of the settlement agreement [Photo by Matt Yonke]
Long-Awaited Settlement Will Protect the Rights of Pro-Life Protesters at the Nation’s Second Largest Abortion Clinic
Aurora, Ill. March 25, 2010—After a years-long dispute over the First Amendment rights of protesters, the Pro-Life Action League has reached a settlement with the City of Aurora. A win for pro-lifers, the settlement recognizes and safeguards the rights of protesters while promising comprehensive protection for citizens who wish to speak out for life in front of one of the nation’s largest abortion facilities.
“This long-awaited settlement ensures that pro-life activists’ peaceful outreach to abortion-bound mothers can proceed without issue, and eliminates the ambiguity that has plagued the police response to pro-life protests at Aurora Planned Parenthood,” said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League and organizer of Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood. “It also demonstrates that there is no need to silence or limit protesters with a ‘bubble zone’ like the one the city of Chicago enacted late last year.” Read past the fold to see the full agreement
The settlement ends the dispute between the City of Aurora and the Pro-Life Action League that began in 2007 after the construction of one of the largest Planned Parenthood facilities in the country. Scheidler believes it illustrates the type of cooperation between pro-lifers and cites that is needed nationwide, and that it can serve as a model to other municipalities dealing with First Amendment issues.
Some of the provisions of the agreement include:
- Recognition of the rights of pro-life citizens to protest abortion and offer alternatives.
- Implementation of special First Amendment and non-discriminatory law enforcement training to officers of the Aurora Police Department in collaboration with pro-lifers.
- Amendment of two city ordinances related to parades and residential picketing to make them less restrictive of Constitutionally-protected public protests.
- Guidelines for the types, size and number of pro-life signs activists will employ during vigils and protests.
- Removal of street signs on Oakhurst Drive that prohibit protest activity.
- Establishment of a new grievance procedure that is mutually beneficial to both the city and the pro-life community.
Contacts for the Media
Eric Scheidler, Pro-Life Action League: 773-251-8792
Stephanie Lewis, TC Public Relations: 312-422-1333