Wilmington protest zone ordinance vetoed

    Mayor Baker overrides a City Council measure that would have protected patients at health care clinics from being approached by protesters outside the facility.

    Wilmington Mayor James Baker (D) has vetoed a measure approved last week by city council that would have established a buffer zone around health care facilities.

    The ordinance would have kept protesters eight feet away from patients entering or exiting a health care facility unless the patient consents to being approached.  The measure was aimed at protecting women entering or exiting from being confronted by abortion opponents outside the offices of Planned Parenthood.

    While Baker supported the initial measure, he vetoed it because of the way council amended it.  Council’s amended the proposal to exempt labor unions.  Baker says that change could open the city up to a legal challenge, which he says would cause an unnecessary expense to taxpayers in order to defend.  “I wish Council had not amended the proposal, but because it did, I cannot sign it and leave city taxpayers open to legal entanglements,” Baker said.

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    Baker says he hopes city lawmakers will reconsider the original proposal without the amendment.

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