A noise ordinance adopted by the Spokane City Council will directly impact pro-life groups that gather outside of a local Planned Parenthood. The recent ordinance strengthened a pre-existing state law that says it’s illegal to “willfully or recklessly interfere with access to or from a health care facility” by “making noise that unreasonably disturbs the peace within the facility.” Though it passed through the city council with a vote of 6 to 1, the mayor must approve the ordinance before it can go into effect.
Councilwoman Lori Kinnear rallied for the noise ordinance after finding out the police were hesitant to take action against pro-life groups outside of the abortion facility. This new measure will allow civil enforcements for a first violation, with the penalties escalating if there are additional violations. Lawsuits may also be brought against pro-life protestors by clinic patients.
Since they routinely meet for prayer and worship services outside of the abortion clinic, the Church of Planned Parenthood feels the ordinance specifically targets them. They’ve called it a violation of their free speech rights.
“We really feel like they just don’t like us here, not that we’re disrupting. So we feel unfairly treated,” Pastor Ken Peters said of the new noise ordinance.
Council members in favor of the measure have claimed it won’t prevent people from praying outside the clinic, but Students for Life of America disagrees.
“This ordinance directly targets pro-lifers in Spokane. We know that this is about one thing; making it harder for people to hear the truth about abortion and what happens inside abortion facilities every day,” Karlie Lodjic, SFLA’s Washington Regional Coordinator said, speaking out against the ordinance. “As Millennials and Gen Z continue to be more pro-life than generations before them, pro-choice politicians are looking to weaponize the law against pro-lifers. This is a clear and direct assault on the First Amendment.”