Noisy protesters near Jackson abortion clinic prompt city ordinance

Updated: Sep. 26, 2019 at 7:31 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Businesses and residents object to noisy protests outside a Jackson abortion clinic.

But protesters say they have a right to free speech.

Both sides voiced their concerns about a proposed city noise ordinance.

Loud protests with bullhorns at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a clinic providing abortions, drew a standing room only crowd at Jackson City Council.

City leaders discussed an ordinance prohibiting certain activities near health care facilities.

"You have the individuals right to free speech to be able to criticize someone's medical choice that's recognized," said Jackson City attorney Tim Howard. "On the other hand individuals have a right to be able to enter into a medical facility unimpeded by trauma and close personal confrontation".

Supporters and opponents shared their opinions with the council.

“The council needs to hear what the day to day reality is like in the Fondren place outside the clinic by someone who is actually there everyday,” Jackson Women’s Health Organization director Shannon Brewer told city leaders. “It is chaotic. It is a dangerous situation, and there is regular potential for violence”.

"Almost all the ladies who enter the abortion clinic arrive in a vehicle an do they can just ignore counselor as they come in an they are not impeded or interfered with as they enter the clinic," said Pastor Elijah Friedeman who spoke against the ordinance.

"Their customers are harassed constantly," said Mike Peters who represents businesses in the Fondren area. "I have residents that live there that work at the hospitals that get woke up in the mornings".

"This policy is going to certainly curtail the ability and the right to be able to be heard," said Bishop Ronnie Crudup, who opposes the measure.

The ordinance motion was withdrawn and will be placed on a future council agenda.

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