Ohio ACLU concerned over buffer zone around abortion clinics

FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2016 file photo, pro-abortion rights signs are seen during the March for Life 2016, in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court will not allow North Dakota to enforce a law banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The justices on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, turned away the state’s appeal of lower court rulings that struck down the 2013 fetal heartbeat law as unconstitutional. The law never took effect and abortion rights supporters said it was the strictest anti-abortion measure in the country.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2016 file photo, pro-abortion rights signs are seen during the March for Life 2016, in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court will not allow North Dakota to enforce a law banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The justices on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, turned away the state’s appeal of lower court rulings that struck down the 2013 fetal heartbeat law as unconstitutional. The law never took effect and abortion rights supporters said it was the strictest anti-abortion measure in the country. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is siding with abortion-clinic protesters over proposed buffer zones around the facilities in central Ohio.

The ACLU of Ohio on Wednesday sent a letter to the Columbus city attorney expressing concern over a proposed city ordinance that would keep protesters from coming within a certain distance from health-care clinics that perform abortions.

The civil-rights group says the new law would place an undue burden on free speech, noting that legal protections against harassment already are in place.

The proposed law would ban a person from harassing and following an individual within 15 feet of the premises. It also would prohibit blocking anyone from going into or out.

Columbus’ two clinics have seen an increase in calls for police assistance in the past five years

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