A pastor in Louisville, Kentucky has expressed his opposition to a proposed regulation that would prohibit protesters from gathering outside abortion clinics.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky has recently advised the Metro Council to create an eight-foot-wide buffer zone outside the entrance of EMW Women's Clinic in Louisville to ensure that women have "unimpeded access" to the last open abortion facility in the state.
On Wednesday, the council held a meeting to hear the concerns of abortion activists and pro-life advocates regarding the proposed buffer zone.
At the meeting, local pastor Joseph Spurgeon insisted that he will not comply with the buffer zone, if enacted.
"Respect the unborn children. Respect our free speech. We will not obey buffer zone laws!" the pastor shouted.
WDRB reported that Spurgeon blamed violence in the west end on legal abortion. He was then escorted out by the police after council members repeatedly called for order as the pastor continued to shout.
Abortion advocate Kate Cunningham called on the council members to enact a 20-foot "safety zone" at the entrance of the clinic, saying it will not obstruct free speech but will protect the clinic's patients from "hostile protesters."
"Protesters may gather 20 feet from the entrance and continue to yell loudly, harass women and hold up 2x4-foot signs depicting bloody fetuses," she said.
LMPD Maj. Eric Johnson, who currently assigns police officers to the clinic each Saturday, claimed that the protests were becoming more "aggressive."
Last month, the police arrested about a dozen protesters, who were locked arm-in-arm to block the entrance to the clinic. The protests were organized by the group Operation Save America in an effort to block the clinic entrance and risk arrest to "rescue their preborn neighbor."
Lousiville police said that the protesters were arrested and charged with criminal trespassing after they refused to leave the premises.
Life News noted that Blocking abortion clinics has been considered as a controversial tactic among pro-life groups because it is illegal.
Buffer zones have also been seen as a controversial measure, and several proposals have been struck down in courts in the U.S. In 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against a buffer zone law in Massachusetts, saying it restricted the freedom of speech of pro-life advocates. In May, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of pro-life activists, who argued that the buffer zone ordinance in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania violated their right to free speech.