WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KRON) – Verbal and physical abuse associated with demonstrators outside Planned Parenthood have become a public safety issue, according to the city’s mayor and the organization’s CEO.
Patients seeking abortion services have complained the protestors have crossed the line.
Mothers are standing up for women subjected to abuse from protesters outside Planned Parenthood in Walnut Creek.
“No woman should have to run a gauntlet of intimidation and harassment in order to access affordable healthcare,” Cherise Khaund said.
Residents speaking out at last week’s city council meeting, requesting the city draft an ordinance establishing a buffer zone outside the clinic to prevent protesters from pestering patients.
One mother says she knows a teenage girl harassed by demonstrators.
“She basically said that she wouldn’t seek out healthcare anymore, and I believe that people should have the right and the access to have safe and private healthcare,” Leslie Shafton said.
Gilda Gonzales is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Northern California and says although the clinic has been in the area for decades, the protests started becoming physical in recent years.
Demonstrators stage outside almost every day but the large groups show up on Tuesdays and Fridays when abortions are conducted.
“Every day, I’m concerned that there might be an incident that could be prevented,” Gilda Gonzales said.
Mayor Kevin Wilk says a staff report on the issue is expected next month.
He says if an ordinance eventually passes, it would be enforced by the police department.
“We’ll do our best to ensure that there is safety for the people that enter and that there’s no physicality or violence,” Mayor Wilk said.
Before it’s too late.