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Group Sues City of Oakland to Protect Rights of Pro-Lifers

Contact: Katie Short, Life Legal Defense Foundation, 805-640-1920


OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 19 /Christian Newswire/ -- On Wednesday, December 19, 2007, Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF), on behalf of Walter B. Hoye II, filed suit in Federal Court, to immediately restrain the City of Oakland from enforcing a new "bubble law" at abortion clinics.  This new ordinance, passed by the Oakland City Council on Tuesday evening, December 18, 2007, makes it unlawful, and punishable by up to one year in jail, to knowingly approach within eight (8) feet of any person seeking to enter an abortion clinic, without their consent, to counsel or distribute literature to them or to urge them not to obtain an abortion. LLDF's suit maintains that the ordinance is a content- and viewpoint-based restriction of speech and is unconstitutional on its face.


The plaintiff, Walter Hoye, is Executive Elder of the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church of Berkeley. Motivated by his moral, religious, and political beliefs, he regularly engages in pro-life counseling and leafleting at the Family Planning Specialists abortion clinic in Oakland.  He is often joined by two elderly women (both over 80 years of age) from his church. Hoye told the Oakland City Council that "We are not a threat to public safety and these women aren't even capable of harassing clinic clients!" Their activities include handing out leaflets, education about abortion and holding signs with a pro-life message.  All of these activities occur on the public sidewalk, the traditional public forum for the exchange of ideas. 


Bay area attorney Mike Millen, who filed the lawsuit in conjunction with LLDF, said "Rather than helping women, this ordinance prevents them from receiving valuable information about their developing baby and options which would let that baby live. It is sad that city leaders are spending time and money on laws that maximize revenue for the abortion industry at the expense of the health of women and babies."


LLDF was established in 1989 and is a non-profit organization committed to the sanctity of human life. For more information, call LLDF Legal Director, Katie Short (805)  640-1920.