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AG: City’s abortion ordinance raises free speech concerns

June 5, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s top prosecutor says Charleston’s new ordinance to target protests at abortion clinics could run afoul of Constitutional law.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Tuesday released a statement saying the ordinance is problematic because it targets free speech.

News outlets report the Charleston City Council voted 21-5 on Monday to approve restrictions on approaching people as they enter health care facilities. The law forbids people from blocking an entrance or exit and says protesters can’t come within 8 feet of someone who is within 100 feet of a front entrance to advocate a message or provide pamphlets without the person’s consent.

The American Civil Liberties Union has also raised concerns in a statement about the ordinance being too broad. Anti-abortion protesters have threatened legal action.

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