Victory in Chicago “Bubble Zone” Settlement

The Pro-Life Action League was joined by several co-plaintiffs in bringing a lawsuit against the City of Chicago in August 2016, alleging that the city’s “Bubble Zone” ordinance is unconstitutional, both on its face and as applied by the Chicago Police.

This past week we reached a settlement agreement with the City, by which the Police Department has agreed to conduct training sessions for the officers in the districts in which there are abortion clinics with an active sidewalk counseling ministry.

The settlement does not address the issue of the basic unconstitutionality of the City’s Bubble Zone ordinance. Federal Judge Amy St. Eve, in orchestrating the settlement agreement and hearing the arguments presented by Tom Olp and Steve Crampton of the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center, stated that since the Supreme Court had upheld a similar ordinance in Hill v. Colorado (2000), she did not have the authority to overturn it. However, she clearly understood the Pro-Life Action League’s intention to pursue the issue in a higher court. This settlement facilitates moving on the Appellate Court with a facial challenge to the law.

Our ultimate aim is to get a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court and to finally receive a ruling that all “bubble zone” laws are unconstitutional because they target the First Amendment free speech rights of pro-life advocates. In the Supreme Court’s ruling in McCullen v. Coakley (2014), Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito penned opinions that the Hill v. Colorado decision which had previously been upheld should be overturned.

The Pro-Life Action League is hopeful that our case, Price, et al. v. City of Chicago et al., will be the vehicle for the demise of all bubble zone laws.

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