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City Attorney Ariel Calonne

Paul Wellman (file)

City Attorney Ariel Calonne


Anti-Abortion Group Threatens to Sue City

Life Legal Defense Foundation Takes Issue with Santa Barbara’s ‘Bubble Ordinance’ After Supreme Court Ruling


Friday, July 18, 2014
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Unless the City of Santa Barbara rescinds or significantly amends its “bubble ordinance” restricting free speech rights near the entrance of Planned Parenthood, churches, and medical clinics, Katie Short, legal director for the Life Legal Defense Foundation, said her organization would likely sue.

Short said the city’s ordinance does not pass legal muster in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling that stated a Massachusetts law requiring a 35-foot buffer between anti-abortion activists and clinic entrances is unconstitutional. Although Santa Barbara’s ordinance is much less restrictive — requiring only an eight-foot buffer from the driveway to the entrance of Planned Parenthood, churches, and clinics — Short said it still fails to meet the concerns expressed by the Supreme Court when its justices voted unanimously to strike down the Massachusetts law.

In that ruling, the court drew a sharp distinction between anti-abortion protestors and sidewalk counselors who sought to engage patients entering the clinics to dissuade them from having abortions and counsel them as to the available alternatives. By requiring so large a buffer, the court ruled that counselors would be forced to shout to be heard, thus making themselves indistinguishable from the protestors. Likewise, the Supreme Court objected that so large a buffer effectively prohibited the distribution of literature, a constitutionally protected expression of free speech.

In the aftermath of the court ruling, city attorney Ariel Calonne suggested the city’s ordinance could withstand legal challenge because its buffer is only eight feet. That distance, he noted, had been approved by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1999 when adjudicating a longstanding first amendment challenge against the city’s measure filed by anti-abortion activists. In that opinion, the appeals court commented of the city’s eight-foot buffer, stating, “Conversation is easily possible at this distance.” Calonne specifically cited that language when indicating his confidence that the bubble ordinance could withstand legal attack.

Short took factual issue with the 9th Circuit opinion, noting that the city’s ordinance requires anyone around the bubble zone to stand eight feet away from the entrance of the driveway. As a practical matter, Short argued that it would be all but impossible for any sidewalk counselor to engage in meaningful conversation with anyone driving into the Planned Parenthood parking lot. “From that distance, it would be hard enough to have a conversation even if there was no background noise,” she said. “But imagine if you’re trying to have that conversation with someone in a car with their engine running with cars possibly behind them? Imagine trying to hand them a leaflet?”

Likewise, she said, the Supreme Court ruling made it clear that government agencies had to have exhausted other remedies less restrictive on free speech rights. That, she claimed, had not happened. Calonne, who became city attorney several months ago, said he has not reviewed the legislative history of the ordinance sufficiently to comment. He has said that if the city council wants to protect itself from litigation while retaining some semblance of the bubble ordinance, they should rewrite the measure to make it a “floating” buffer.

By that, Calonne indicated the buffer should be measured in relation to the location of the patient entering the clinic, not in relationship to the clinic driveway. Short suggested it would be less restrictive still if City Hall sought to enforce rules already on the books barring anyone from blocking a driveway. Calonne declined to elaborate on the advice he’ll give councilmembers when he meets with them in closed session this Tuesday to discuss their options. He will be speaking with Short on Wednesday to relay the council’s thoughts.

The city’s ordinance was passed in 1993 — the first of its kind in the nation, according to Short — in response to intense protests taking place in Santa Barbara at the Planned Parenthood clinic, not to mention at the home and church of a doctor then performing abortions in town. In one incident, police and firefighters were called in response to a bomb threat. About the same time, a clinic in San Luis Obispo had been torched, and a doctor performing abortions in Florida had been shot to death by a pro-life advocate.

In the years immediately following the passage of the city’s bubble ordinance, city police issued many citations. But in recent years, the activity outside Planned Parenthood has been quiet, peaceful, and respectful, according to Planned Parenthood spokesperson Julie Mickelberry. “That shows the ordinance is working,” she said. “Women and men have a right to access medical care without harassment, judgment, and intimidation. We have all these medical privacy laws. We as individuals deserve to have that privacy protected when accessing health care.”

Mickelberry added that violence and the threat of violence remains pervasive at clinics providing abortion services. She cited a recent survey conducted last year by the National Abortion Federation in which 90 percent of doctors performing abortions reported seeing patients who had experienced concern over their personal safety upon entering the clinic and that 80 percent had called law enforcement because of such safety concerns.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

These delusional idiots want to be able to interfere with a woman's right to both privacy and legal medical services during what is generally a very distressful time.

Expand the bubble and prevent these lunatics from expressing their hatred and intolerance in such a shameless and socially reprehensible manner.

We will not tolerate intolerance in any shape, form, or manner.
These Dark Age hypocrites are deeply delusional if they believe they will stem the tide of women's rights in American and the world.

Draxor (anonymous profile)
July 18, 2014 at 10:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am pro choice and pro abortion.
If this special protection is, in fact, unconstitutional, I hope this group sues and wins.
Both sides need to abide by the rules.

nomoresanity (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 7:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Counselors"
"meaningful conversation"
"distribution of literature"

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 8:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm no big fan of abortion, but it seems proper to keep a certain amount of space between the protesters and their target audience.

They can make their point from a distance. Getting in people's faces won't dissuade them from making their choice if they are already determined to have an abortion.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 8:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If only these zealots would be willing to care about those born as much as they care about the unborn, their argument would be much more persuasive. As it is, they are simply hypocrites.

buckwheat (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 9:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Anti-abortion supporters care very much about those born as well, as those who choose to conceive and then not care about their offspring. That is their whole point. Enabling future lives hooked on government welfare dependencies as a reward for procreative recklessness is caring for neither parent nor child.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 10:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Do "pro-lifers" care about the unborn? Do they hell. These sanctimonious fakes are into wielding big government power over people, especially the poor. Abortion prohibition will NOT stop abortion and it WON'T stop people getting unintentionally pregnant. What it WILL do is discriminate against poor women who will resort to the back alley coat-hanger specialist, while the RICH can simply fly to Canada or elsewhere to have the procedure done under proper medical care.

THAT is what the anti-choice crowd is about. Control, power, and punishment.... Solutions be damned.

bloggulator (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 10:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Basically these Taliban want permission to harass and stalk.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 10:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Never stand between a pro-abortion supporter and his demand to have free sex.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 10:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

'demand to have free sex', you pay for it, or worse do you take it? this guy....

spacey (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 10:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

What Short is forgetting that what's good for the goose, is good for the gander.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 11:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Short assumes people want to talk to her- they don't. She's no different than an aggressive panhandler on State St.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 11:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm sure they wouldn't mind if people stood in front of their church with signs saying,

"Lunatics Beware" and yelling at everyone who tried to go in.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 11:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Is this the same Short who's daughter instigated a melee at UCSB under the Abortion Holocaust banner? Quite a litigation happy little coven aren't they?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 11:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Great question,Ken. Is it the same person??

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 11:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It looks as though it is the same person: http://lldf.org/?s=Short&x=22&y=12

and the Noozhawk story: http://www.noozhawk.com/article/life_...

at_large (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 12:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There are already plenty of laws to protect people from being harassed.

8' does nothing except ingratiate politicians to certain women voters while borderline (pun intended) infringing on free speech and free association rights.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 2:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wouldn't time be better spent distributing contraceptives than creating human blockades at clinics?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 3:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Abortion does occur spontaneously as a result of unhealthy circumstances. And it is usually very traumatic to all involved. An abortion that results from a woman exercising her perogative is no less traumatic. Except that the pain is only shared with those she chooses to tell. And no matter how many people she shares that with, no matter how many tell her they understand, she will always know that it was her decision. And she will have to live with it.

chriss2760 (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 7:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@ Ken_Volok. You appear to relish the inflammatory role, Sir. Does calm and well considered debate frighten you?

chriss2760 (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 7:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Photo caption: "That plane is coming in right at me..."

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 7:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is he any relation to Ariel Sharon?

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 7:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

dolphin, you mean that Sharon, the butcher of Sabra and Shatila? Wikipedia: "during the 1982 Lebanon War Sharon bore "personal responsibility" "for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge" in the massacre by Lebanese militias of Palestinian civilians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila" He also fathered the illegal colonies in the West Bank in 70s and 80s. Yuk.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 9:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@chriss, 2760

Go suck an egg.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 10:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

People need to mind their own business.

zuma7 (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 10:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

chriss,2760 wrote ..."she will always know that it was her decision. And she will have to live with it." ooh, chris, and you think you are being "calm and considered"? Its unctuous and judgmental and hyper-obvious of you, chris: indeed, if a woman so chooses to abort it is totally her choice and one assumes she is prepared "to live with it".
Katie Short wants to pretend to exercise her "free speech rights" inside the "bubble" and harass pregnant women who have made their choice and should have free access to these clinics without hearing Short's bullsh!t. It looks like the same Short who manipulated the Miller-Young free speech incident at UCSB, guess she has gotten emboldened and is trying a similar tactic in the City of SB.
Don't give in to this blackmail.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 11:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ms Short has a pattern of these types of lawsuits, and she has nine (9) children. I applaud her right to have so many children; why can't she accept that some women do not want so many, that these women often have a medical condition (say, exposure to measles in first trimester) and should have the RIGHT to enter a clinic without enduring Ms. Short's group's harassment and guilt-tripping? I honor Ms Short's fertility, and I bet she's a fine parent and gives lots of attention to the nine kids, despite her time-consuming legal work. Why can't she butt-out of other women's choices to do something different?

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 11:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The respected BBB Wise Giving Alliance faults Short's organization, Life Legal Defense Foundation, for failing badly in two areas --
http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/na... . Standard 4: Board Compensation (someone being paid too much who is ON the board); Standard 13: Accounting of expenses reporting ... doesn't equate.
Look to thyself, Mrs. Short, and quit using your kids to do YOUR mission in life, eh? Trin is just 16, my god, no joke.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 11:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

why can't she accept that some women do not want so many, that these women often have a medical condition (say, exposure to measles in first trimester) and should have the RIGHT to enter a clinic without enduring Ms. Short's group's harassment and guilt-tripping?
DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 11:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Mr. Brown, The two and a half minute video will answer your question.
Thanks for asking!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifgHHh...

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 11:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

thanx, pod14! Monty Python answers Ms. Short... multiply!!

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 20, 2014 at 12:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Abortion is legal murder and public funding it makes everyone an accessory. The tolerant middle ground solution is eliminate public funded abortions and contraceptives.

This means go ahead and have all the abortions you want. Just don't make those who are against it indirectly participate via their taxes.

SBLifer (anonymous profile)
July 20, 2014 at 2:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

..." go ahead and have all the abortions you want. Just don't make those who are against it indirectly participate via their taxes.

SBLifer (anonymous profile)
July 20, 2014 at 2:26 a.m.

SBLifer: This is the position of the Libertarian Party.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 20, 2014 at 3:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

But lifer, I do NOT accept YOUR religious-based definition of "life" -- so you're full of it.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 20, 2014 at 8:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh come on SB Lifer, your taxes have paid for executions, the slaughter of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis, the drone rocket annihilation of random terrorists all over the Middle-East and that is only a list of those our government kills outright. All the death that occurs due to hostile or benign neglect by our government is too numerous to delineate on this post. Abortion is an unfortunate decision when it occurs. You never know what potentiality, both good and bad, is lost. But abortions happened when they were illegal and would continue to happen if made illegal again. The poor women who feel that they have to resort to this decision deserve our compassion, respect, and privacy. What they don't need is wackos haranguing them like some deranged crazy person on the street. Leave the poor women alone.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
July 20, 2014 at 7:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Trin is just 16, my god, no joke.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 11:44 p.m. (

My friend's sister was 16 when she had her first child.

She and the baby's father just celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary by by going to Ireland.

I do however, agree with Davy's point about people using little children as tools in their political games, but 16 is old enough to have your own opinions.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 20, 2014 at 7:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)


"This means go ahead and have all the abortions you want. Just don't make those who are against it indirectly participate via their taxes."
The same can be said for Capitol punishment ,War and corn sweetener ! I do NOT believe in religion...so why should I have to supplement their public services because they are Tax free .... Why should I pay taxes to give Israel 8.9 million dollars a day that is over 2 billion a year, 4 trillion dollars over the past sixty years...for a Jewish military state that steals land and kills indigenous children with impunity ! This too looks like it is legal murder and public funding it makes everyone an accessory. The tolerant middle ground solution is eliminate public funded War the aid to Israel, the farm and corporate welfare and The Death Penalty! Just don't make those who are against it indirectly participate via their taxes. Please if you are really a "Christian" then why not act more like Christ! Feed the poor care for the sick visit those in prison! "When I was thirsty did you give me a drink?" Jesus of Nazareth.

GEO (anonymous profile)
July 21, 2014 at 4:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am sure that GEO is also against the $1.55 billion a year we give to Egypt, and those are old numbers. I am sure you were protesting those funds when the insane Muslim Brotherhood was killing rampantly...

But now some facts:
The body spontaneously aborts 2/3 or more of the available, fertilized fetuses. Apparently mother/father nature is OK with abortion;
Women are generally not traumatized by their abortions and every non political study demonstrates this fact. Late term natural miscarriages(spontaneous abortions) seem pretty traumatic as do gnarly late term clinical abortions;.
Federal support of stuff each of us does not like is a part of living in a Democratic Republic.

While I support abortion I do not like publicly funded abortion; too bad for me.
I also do not like the money that Bush and Obama have wasted on fighting in the Middle East; too bad for me again.
I adore the funds we give to Israel; too bad for you.

nomoresanity (anonymous profile)
July 22, 2014 at 7:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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