San Francisco Supervisor David Campos is proposing a new ordinance that would create a 25-foot buffer zone around facilities such as Planned Parenthood that offer reproductive services - modeling the idea after others in the country.
"The effort here is to strike the right balance between the right people have to express themselves and the right of the people to access health care including reproductive health, " Campos said on Monday.
The current law recognizes an eight-foot “bubble” around people within 100 feet of the facility, but protesters can get around that by standing in one spot. This law has been ineffective, Campos said, because demonstrators get around the law by staying in one spot and not approaching clinic visitors.
Campos, who is expected to propose the law on Tuesday, wants the "buffer zones" to apply to the entrances, exits and driveways of the facilities. Hospitals would be excluded.
There is one Planned Parenthood in San Francisco at 1650 Valencia Street, and on Monday, a handful of people from a group called "40 Days for Life" handed out pamphlets.
One woman, who only wanted to be identified as Maureen, said that talking to women just before they choose to possibly get an abortion is important.
"So many women are coerced into coming here and it's not something they want," she said. "Many times they will come back and bring the babies and say, 'Thank you for being here. I really needed you to be here.' "
Maureen added that no matter what, she is committed to the cause. "We're not going away."
Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Adrienne Verrilli countered that said abortions account for less than 2 percent of patient visits at this location, but activists can often be seen, taking video of patients and staff and yelling slogans, which is "absolute intimidation."
"We have weekly folks who are crying that have been harassed, folks who want to go out the back door because they don't want to have to face them," Verilli said. "It's an on going struggle for Planned Parenthood and our clients to come to work everyday."
If it passes, violating the new ordinance could result in three months in jail or a $500 fine.