WEATHER »

Battle for the ‘Bubble Ordinance’

Anti-Abortion Attorney May Sue City After Unsuccessful Negotiations


Santa Barbara City Attorney Ariel Calonne said he’s fully prepared to defend the city’s so-called bubble-ordinance despite contentions by a prominent anti-abortion attorney in Ojai who insists the law runs afoul of a recent Supreme Court ruling that concluded Massachusetts’s buffer bill is unconstitutional. Calonne’s announcement came one day after meeting with members of the City Council and a few hours after talking with attorney Katie Short, legal director for the Life Legal Defense Foundation.

Calonne said the city’s ordinance requires only an eight-foot buffer between anti-abortion activists and the driveway entrance to the Planned Parenthood clinic on Garden Street as opposed to the 35-foot buffer required by the Massachusetts law. Short noted the Supreme Court’s interest in allowing sidewalk counselors — as opposed to anti-abortion protestors — to get close enough to people entering the clinic so they can hand out leaflets describing alternatives and engage in conversation. The city’s ordinance, she contended, still makes such interaction all but impossible.

Calonne pointed to a 9th Circuit Court ruling from 1997 upholding the city’s ordinance in which the justices specifically concluded that it allowed conversation to take place. Short said she has not yet made up her mind whether to file a lawsuit. She said she had hoped to persuade the council to either drop the existing ordinance or agree not to enforce it.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

You Solve It,’ City Tells County on Library Money Shortage

To avoid financial shortfall, city sends ball back to county's court.

Vigil for Victims in Palestine Held at Courthouse

Community gathers to protest injustice.

Stoker to Be Sworn into EPA Job

Former Santa Barbara County supervisor confirms his appointment as regional head of Environmental Protection Agency.

Live Stream of Channel Island Falcons Makes History

Webcam follows wild peregrine falcon family on the Channel Islands.

Sonos Informs Employees of Potential Layoffs

'Restructuring' could affect 96; how many in Santa Barbara unknown.