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Federal Judge Grants Temporary Buffer Zone Around Louisville Abortion Clinic


A buffer zone has been created to keep anti-abortion protesters away from the last-remaining abortion clinic in Kentucky.  U.S. District Judge David Hale granted a temporary restraining order on Friday establishing a buffer zone around Kentucky's last abortion clinic.

The order comes as far-right fundamentalist Christian group Operation Save America is preparing to begin a week-long conference Saturday with the stated goal of shutting the clinic down.

The order affects ten individuals associated with Operation Save America who were arrested at the EMW Women's Surgical Center after protesting in May, as well as any of their associates. It creates a 15-foot by 7.5-foot buffer zone around the entrance to the clinic, to prohibit anyone from blocking the path of anyone seeking to access it.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Louisville filed the motion requesting the restraining order earlier this week, under the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances act, which bars people from blocking access to reproductive health centers. U.S. Marshals and local law enforcement will be responsible for enforcing the buffer zone, and any violation carries with it steep financial penalties.

Judge Hale has scheduled a hearing for Monday morning to determine whether the buffer zone will exist indefinitely. EMW FounderDr. Ernest Marshall said yesterday the clinic would continue conducting business as usual despite the planned protests.

This story has been updated.

Lisa Gillespie is WFPL's Health and Innovation Reporter.