Walnut Creek bans sound amplifier use at protests outside Planned Parenthood

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Walnut Creek bans sound amplifiers at Planned Parenthood protests
The Walnut Creek City Council passed an ordinance that bans the use of sound amplifiers during protests at the city's Planned Parenthood facility.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Passionate public comment at Tuesday's city council meeting in Walnut Creek.

The council unanimously passed an ordinance that bans the use of sound amplifiers during protests at the city's Planned Parenthood facility.

Walnut Creek City Attorney Steve Mattas says it builds on another ordinance passed several years ago that created a protest buffer zone around Planned Parenthood.

"It doesn't apply in any other areas of Walnut Creek. Under the law, we try to narrowly tailor any restrictions as much as we can," Mattas said.

At Tuesday's meeting, several Planned Parenthood volunteers came to express their support of the new rule.

MORE: FBI arrests 2 men, including active-duty Marine, in 2022 firebombing of Planned Parenthood

Sandy Fink is one of those volunteers.

She tells us the protesters are often so loud you can clearly hear them inside the building.

"They overcome the street noise and everything else. The affect the people who are going in for treatment. They affect us, the volunteers, and the businesses. And the people that live in that area," Fink said.

Fink showed us videos she took on her cellphone of some of the protests that have happened.

She says protesters often times heckle both those working at the clinic as well as patients.

"That they're going to hell, and that their baby's going to be torn apart, and all those things," Fink said.

MORE: Walnut Creek considers 'buffer zone' outside Planned Parenthood as confrontations intensify

Anti-abortion advocates say given Planned Parenthood's location near a freeway, using sound amplifiers is key to making sure their voices are heard.

"Sound amplification is important so that people can hear our voice. So we're just saying, mama can you come and talk with us? We have help and hope that we want to offer you," said Sophia Martin.

Martin works with an organization called "Love Life."

She says for her, the issue goes beyond just the use of sound amplifiers.

Martin tells us she feels like the ordinance is too targeted, and that it ultimately comes down to freedom of speech.

"If our voice cannot be heard, then we will not be able to exercise our First Amendment right," she said.

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