Appeals court halts Louisville abortion clinic buffer zone

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A federal appeals court has temporarily barred the enforcement of a Louisville city ordinance that creates a buffer zone around health care centers, including a downtown abortion clinic that attracts protests.

The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled that the buffer zone violates the First Amendment rights of protesters who demonstrate before the EMW Women’s Surgical Center. The lawsuit challenging the buffer zone Sisters For Life, the Kentucky Right to Life Association and a few other protestors brought this demonstration.

The appeals court wrote in an opinion Wednesday the groups “wish to offer leaflets and compassionate, if sometimes unwelcome, speech to women entering abortion clinics” but the limits imposed by the city law “likely violate the First Amendment.”

The appeals court disagreed a lower court decision that did not injunct the buffer area. The buffer zone ordinance was adopted by Louisville’s Metro council in May 2021.

Kentucky’s Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing abortions to be stopped in many cases. Pro-abortion rights advocates and the arguments in this case are challenging the state’s ban. heard by the Kentucky Supreme Court last month.

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