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Planned Parenthood Asks City For Help Dealing With Protester Noise

Photo by Paul Dillon

Planned Parenthood officials say the city of Spokane should do more to control protests that are routinely happening outside their Spokane clinic.

The protests by anti-abortion activists have been occurring about every month. They're sponsored by a group calling itself “The Church at Planned Parenthood” and often number more than 200 people, with members speaking through a public address system.

Planned Parenthood spokesman Paul Dillon says the result is that patients and staff can hear the speakers inside the clinic. He says the noise is so loud it’s actually causing difficulties for those trying to do their jobs, and upsetting the clients, many of whom are there for services other than abortion.

Dillon says the protesters, through their noise, are violating a state ordinance.

“State law already prohibits willfully or recklessly disrupting the normal function of a healthcare facility. That includes making noise that unreasonably disturbs the peace inside the facility,” he said.

Dillon said the city is considering a new ordinance which would give police more leeway to enforce the city’s current noise laws. He says as it stands now, the police have failed to act.

“Police are just standing and looking over, and we’ve had statements before when we approached them, about the state law, and they’ve said I'm not here to enforce the law. What were seeing is very selective enforcement because we are Planned Parenthood. It’s completely unfair, the actions are illegal,” Dillon said.

The proposed ordinance being discussed by the council would allow aggrieved parties to file suit against those who violate it.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.