Family files legal challenge to abortion protest buffer

7:30 AM, Feb 14, 2014   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A family has filed a legal challenge to a Portland city ordinance that bars anti-abortion protesters from getting too close to women's health clinics.

Daniel and Marguerite Fitzgerald and their seven children say in their lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Portland that the 39-foot buffer zone violates their constitutional rights of free speech and the prohibition against unlawful search and seizure.

The Shapleigh family says in the suit that the ordinance approved in November "unlawfully privatizes public ways held in the public trust for use by all citizens."

The suit names the city, Mayor Michael Brennan and each city councilor as defendants.

Deputy City Manager Sheila Hill-Christian tells the Portland Press Herald that city officials are reviewing the lawsuit and had no immediate response.

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