Buffer Zone Repeal Resets Dynamics at Portland Health Care Facility

Terry, A Member of the Deliverance Center, Congress Street,  This Morning.

Terry, A Member of the Deliverance Center, Congress Street, This Morning.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,161)

“I brought a friend’s girlfriend to the clinic this morning for an abortion,” Wil Doughty, a lobsterman from Long Island, told Terry a high-profile proselytizer, late this morning.  “Don’t you know that’s murder?” Terry (he would not give his last name) to mhn.com.  “It would not be a good thing for these two to have a baby,” responded Doughty.  “Not  a good fit at all.”   “It’s still murder.  I’m here to do God’s work and talk about love,” Terry shot back.  “I’m a Protestant I guess.  I don’t think God is against abortion.  Remember, he took his own son’s life, didn’t he?  “Did he love his son?” Doughty, a father of two adult childen,  asked Terry. Terry left.

Doughty was standing near the door to the health facility on Congress Street when Terry came up to him at the insistence of Leslie. Sneddon, one of the leaders of the protestors, who identified Doughty to Terry.  “You should go talk to him,” Sneddon urged Terry. He did.

Since the City Council reluctantly repeated its own 39-foot buffer zone ordinance earlier this month that kept opponents of the few abortion services performed at the health facility, at a safe distance the dynamics of who stands where have changed.   Ms. Sneddon, now stands in front of the Planned Parenthood door offering people abortion literature – a police officer on duty for the health facility stands close by as well.  So, the rhetoric from the opponents is low-key, but still intrusive and unwanted.

Across Congress Street from the health care facility stands most of the opponents – as though they are still observing the 39-foot buffer zone that is no longer in effect.  Standing on the sidewalk on the corner of Monument Square is a group of activists who support the right of women to benefit from all of the services at the clinic.  The group has plans to continue this presence into the near future.

A city committee chaired by Ed Suslovic has agreed to come up with another recommendation for action to protect health care facility users from their right to receive health care in an untheatening environment.   The matter will be taken up by the City Council in September.