MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Surveillance video from outside Planned Parenthood's health center in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis shows anti-abortion advocates approaching moving cars to share pamphlets. In August, cameras even captured several parties getting into a physical altercation with umbrellas.
In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June, Planned Parenthood has seen a rise in aggressive protests at their locations across the Twin Cities and claims these are just a few examples of why this new ordinance is so desperately needed.
On Thursday morning, Mayor Jacob Frey signed the legislation, making it illegal to obstruct entrances and driveways to reproductive clinics. It also allows clinics to install permanent markings to indicate driveway boundaries and will be enforced by Minneapolis Police.
"Today's ordinance is a simple solution to a growing problem. Patients, staff and volunteers are regularly harassed by protesters. Protester's actions often cause dangerous safety concerns around the health center entrance," said Tim Stanley of Planned Parenthood North Central States.
Thomas Wilkins is the sidewalk counseling manager for Pro-Life Action Ministries, which provides resources to those with abortion appointments.
"A city that is short 300 police officers and rampant with crime really has no business criminalizing free speech," said Wilkins, who was back outside the Uptown clinic with his team shortly after the legislation was signed.
"We intend to continue peacefully and compassionately offering pregnancy and parenting resources to Planned Parenthood's clients."
Wilkins calls the ordinance an attack on their rights and there could be legal precedent there. In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts state law requiring buffer zones around abortion clinics, calling it unconstitutional.
Pro-Life Action Ministries tells FOX 9 they are consulting with their attorneys about this new ordinance and may file a lawsuit regarding it in the future.