Charlotte Reacts To Supreme Court's Decision on Abortion Clinic -

Charlotte Reacts To Supreme Court's Decision on Abortion Clinic Buffers

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Pro-life and pro-choice groups in Charlotte are redrawing their battle lines after the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision that a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics in Massachusetts is unconstitutional and a violation of free speech. There is no state law in North Carolina about a buffer zone, but people on both sides of the abortion debate feel the ruling will have an impact locally.

Rev. Flip Benham, the director of Operation Save America, protests outside Charlotte abortion clinics most days. Benham said, “It's not somebody screaming and shouting in your face. It is we are here to help you.”

Benham says the Supreme Court's decision about buffer zones around abortion clinics gave organizations like his a "pat on the back." He added, “When a person is out extending a hand like you see out here, you watch these sidewalk counselors. You can talk to the folks in the Crisis Pregnancy Center that we have right here-mobile Crisis Pregnancy Center. You see it’s not invasive at all.”

Louise Clark, President of Charlotte NOW, also known as the National Organization for Women, says not all protestors are the way Benham describes. Clark said, “We're talking about putting these women through a gauntlet of terror as they walk from their car into the clinics.”

As a teenager, Clark remembers visiting her doctor. She was not getting an abortion. But the office was right next to an abortion clinic, and she says protestors mistook her as someone having an abortion.

It wasn’t until we got inside that I realized that they were worried I was going to get an abortion at the clinic instead of seeing my doctor who happened to be in the same building. That is very vivid in my mind feeling that harassment and that fear of being surrounded.”

Clark says Charlotte NOW was waiting on a ruling by the Supreme Court to decide where to go with what they call "defense" training when volunteers who accompany women into the clinics are trained on how to deal with pushy protestors.

Benham says his group will continue doing what they do, but perhaps now they may have less interference.

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