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Court Rejects Appeal in Abortion Protest Case from Ohio

June 29, 1992

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by six people who say they unfairly are being barred from participating in peaceful anti-abortion demonstrations in Dayton, Ohio.

The justices, without comment, left intact a state court injunction aimed at protecting staff members and patients of the Dayton Women’s Health Center from interference and harassment.

Operators of the health center, which among its services performs abortions, sought state court help in 1986 after, as their lawyers put it, ″peaceful picketing got out of control.″

An injunction now in effect bars anti-abortion demonstrators from, among other things, blocking access to the center, trespassing on the center’s property and demonstrating at the homes of center employees or patients.

The appeal acted on today was filed in behalf of Cheryl Sorrell, Marty DeLane, Joseph McQueen, Mark Berry, Ron Severt and Tammy Silvey.

″The permanent injunction directly contravenes the First Amendment guarantees of free speech and free assembly in that it is a content-based restriction on political speech and is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest,″ the appeal contended.

Lawyers for the health center urged the court to reject the appeal, saying, ″Instances of coercion, harassment and intimidation inflicted by the defendant class members ... are well documented.″

The case is Sorrell vs. Dayton Women’s Health Center, 91-1802.

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