The ordinance, championed by Ald. Vi Daley (43rd), would create the protective zone within a 50-foot radius of the entrance to any hospital, medical clinic or health-care facility. Within that zone, no one could get closer than eight feet to pass along any materials, display signs, protest, educate or counsel another person without that person's consent.
The new Chicago ban carries a $500 fine for violations. It's patterned after an even-stricter Colorado law that has already passed muster with the U.S. Supreme Court. In Colorado, the radius is 100 feet.
Anti-abortion activists who attempt to counsel women on their way in to abortion clinics have denounced the new policy as a violation of their First Amendment rights.
"This is not about safety. It's about shutting down a means of protest," attorney Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center in Chicago told aldermen last week.