Planned Parenthood expresses concern over protests

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The controversy continues over protests in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Portland.

Protesters are now allowed to stand in front of the entrance again, after the city repealed its 39-foot no protest buffer zone. The city repealed the ordinance after the Supreme Court ruled that a similar law in Massachusetts was unconstitutional. Planned Parenthood says without the buffer zone, the protests are becoming aggressive and intimidating to patients.

"What we are finding is that folks will overstep," Spokesperson Nicole Clegg told NEWS CENTER. "They will have to be warned by the police. We have to contact the police to make sure that protesters are behaving according to the law, and all of this has a real stress and impact on our patients."

"That's absolutely untrue," Protester Donna Hebert said. "Nothing has changed on our part except that people can stand across the street again where we were originally."

Planned Parenthood is urging the city to adopt a new ordinance to address concerns, as Massachusetts and other states and municipalities did after the Supreme Court decision. Portland City Council's Public Safety Health and Human Services committee is expected to take up the issue in the fall.


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