We need your help. This Wednesday, December 7, Pittsburgh City Council will be holding a preliminary vote on the Medical Safety Zone legislation that would protect patients and their companions entering medical clinics and hospitals in Pittsburgh. The anti-choice hardliners are organizing their masses to attend the meeting and give public testimony when the meeting begins (10:00 am).
The co-sponsoring Council members of this ordinance have asked us to gather as many supporters as possible to attend the meeting. If you live in the city of Pittsburgh, it is even more critical that you try to attend this meeting.
If you'd like to give brief public testimony in support of the ordinance, please click here.
Thank you. Here are the details:
Wednesday, December 7, 2005
10:00 A.M. - Standing Committees Meeting, commencing with the public comment followed by the Committee on Finance and Budget.
Pittsburgh City Council 510 City - County Building, 414 Grant St. Pittsburgh, PA 15219 Telephone: (412) 255-2138
The legislation before City Council is a yawner, mostly. I go to council all the time. I'm not motivated to go now because of this bill.
The bill has two parts. I love the first and hate the second. And, there is another problem that they are trying to fix that is best fixed with real enforcement.
Bill says: 1. You can't be within 15 feet of an entrace to a public health clinic. Fine. Great idea. Do it.
Part 2 -- says you can't be within 8 feet of another person. This is to keep protesters away from those who might be going to the clinic. That creates a buffer zone that is about 7.5 feet wider than what an average person from China needs. And, the buffer zone moves with the person as the person moves.
Person A is on the sidewalk with protest posters doing his/her free speech thing and Person B exits clinic and goes to stand next to Protester A. Then -- police arrive and the 8 foot buffer is absent and Proterster, person A, goes to jail.
So much for free speech.
Part 2 stinks.
Peduto, and others on council, again, go overboard in limits to freedoms. And, the law will go to the courts. And, this will cost another nickle or two for constitutional attorneys and the city's legal department. They always go to the courts to figure out matters. Rather, I say do the right thing by crafting better laws in the first place.
But, we run into this problem because people have been assulted in a number of ways going into and out of the clinic. Plus, the city does not have the manpower nor budget resources to put an officer at the clinic as they have had to do in the past.
So, people in the burbs who don't care much about city politics -- time to care. The quality of life in the city impacts everyone.
Furthermore, the police are slow to make an arrest of someone protesting. They don't have clear leadership. They don't have clear marching orders. They know that a wrong move -- and -- bingo -- they just lost their job as people around here won't support them for doing the job. The pass the buck problems always surface. So, enforcement is lax to say the least.
If someone got pushed on the sidewalk headed to or out of a clinic -- and police made an arrest -- then this problem would not generally happen. Assault is assult. It shouldn't happen. And, when it does -- people should be put in handcuffs and taken to the Judge.
The police are our friends, if they do their jobs.
If they don't do the job -- because of uncertain winds from politicians -- then the police need to be better managed or else need to have more laws put on other laws to make them do more.
Even this law is a question as to its enforcement from the men and women in blue. ????
This health clinic effort to rid the landscape of protesters grew out of the panhandlers legislation that went down a month or so ago. The downtown weenies want to rid the city of the homeless. The homeless are not a big problem. But, when there are so few others downtown, they look like a big problem. Likewise, the homeless and beggars are getting away with disorderly conduct because there are serious enforcement problems with the police. One guy who was trouble downtown had 60 violations to his name. He should have faced some different outcomes about the third time he was picked up -- not the 63rd time.
If you think otherwise, let me know.