US government withdraws request for permanent buffer zone around Kentucky's last abortion clinic

(Wikimedia Commons/RattleMan)Pro-life advocates stage a silent complaint in Washington, D.C. on October 18, 2005, in front of the Supreme Court.

The federal government has withdrawn a motion that seeks to create a permanent buffer zone around the last abortion clinic in Kentucky.

In July, U.S. District Court Judge David Hale granted a request for a buffer zone outside the EMW Women's Clinic in Louisville to keep pro-life protesters away from the area. Hale's order came after 11 people blocked the doors to the clinic to keep pregnant women from obtaining an abortion.

According to Christian News Network, a hearing was held last week regarding the government's motion asking Hale to extend the temporary, 14-day buffer zone around the abortion facility.

Representatives for the clinic argued that it was necessary to create a buffer zone because the pro-life protesters are violent. However, the case fell apart after it was determined that there was no evidence of violence, or the threat of it, at the clinic.

"The United States has withdrawn its motion for a preliminary injunction. There will be no long-term bubble zone at EMW," said defense attorney Vince Heuser told WAVE 3 News.

Heuser noted that EMW Women's Clinic director Anne Ahola had admitted that Rusty Thomas, who was one of the 11 protesters arrested in May for blocking the entrance to the clinic, even went inside the facility and "shared love of Jesus, and she came out of the secure area of the clinic to talk face to face with him and they exchanged a hug."

U.S. attorneys dropped the motion seeing that the extended injunction was not necessary and that they would not be successful in pursuing it.

"The intimidating aspect, the threatening aspect of this case, went away instantly," Heuser stated.

The temporary buffer zone, which was put in place ahead of Operation Save America's rally on July 22–29, was lifted by Saturday.

During the rally, pro-life activists sang worship songs, preached the gospel, read Bible verses and prayed for an end to abortion. Several children at the rally stretched out their arms and prayed for the abortion facility escorts who were lined up along the sidewalk.

U.S. marshals were sent to surround the facility throughout the event to ensure that women would be able to enter the clinic.

Although the government withdrew the motion for a buffer zone around the clinic, it is still requesting that Hale order 10 of the 11 people who blocked the entrance to EMW to pay monetary damages to those who were unable to access the facility. One of the protesters was determined to be a minor and not included in the request.

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