- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Attorneys for the city of Pittsburgh and anti-abortion activists have been unable to reach a compromise on an ordinance that establishes a 15-foot buffer zone for protesters around abortion clinic entrances.

Lawyers for both sides said in a report Friday that they will keep talking but will also file a final set of legal arguments for the judge to rule on the issue, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (https://bit.ly/16FNzBh ) reported.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon heard oral arguments earlier this month but asked both sides to try to work out their differences before she rules on a motion seeking to bar the city from enforcing the ordinance.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious advocacy law firm, filed the lawsuit on behalf of five abortion opponents, who said the ordinance is selectively enforced and used to censor them.

The 2005 ordinance allows for a buffer zone near the entrance to any “hospital or health care facility,” but attorneys for both sides acknowledge the ban has been enforced only at two abortion clinics.

Assistant city solicitor Michael Kennedy argued earlier that the ordinance was enacted to prevent angry confrontations between abortion opponents, clinic employees and patients.

But attorneys for the opponents said police, acting on complaints from clinic workers, have wrongly sought to curtail sidewalk counseling and leafleting, too. They say their clients want to be able to walk alongside women and continue those conversations until the women enter the clinic, but don’t carry signs, shout slogans or try to block entrance to the clinic.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, https://pghtrib.com


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