Thursday, August 06, 2009

Small victories

I’ve been following anti-abortion activist Pastor Walter Hoye since his arrest and conviction for violating an Oakland order prohibiting his antics within eight feet of a woman entering or leaving the clinic. He’s been on a crusade to have the ordinance overturned as unconstitutional. A federal judge did not agree.

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer in San Francisco found the law both neutral in its content and appropriately applied by police who arrested Hoye last year in front of Family Planning Specialists Medical Group, an abortion clinic near Jack London Square.

I’ve walked by the clinic myself. I’ve seen Hoye’s minions in action. I am so pleased that the ordnance was upheld. At first blush I was horrified that his free speech could be so limited. Then I did the math. Eight feet is not very big. It’s just big enough to allow a person to walk on a sidewalk without being crowed by fanatical Christian protesters. The call it a protective bubble. That sounds about right.