Proposed ordinance sparks debate about Freedom of Speech rights

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JACKSON, Miss (WJTV)- In a special meeting held Thursday with Jackson City Council, an ordinance was introduced that would place restrictions on demonstrators.

A representative with the Jackson Police Department explained the department has received more than 300 calls to the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, to mediate disputes between patients and those opposing certain services at the clinic.

If the ordinance would have passed Thursday, restrictions would have included how far demonstrators have to be when protesting, passing out pamphlets or using amplified sound.

Kim Gibson, of PinkHouse Defender, is in agreeance with the ordinance saying it can be very dangerous for Jackson Health Organizer patients.

“For the patients, they’re frightened of these people. They don’t know who they are. They’re strangers that are approaching them, sometimes in an aggressive way. So yes it can be very dangerous. The traffic is stopped by these people.” 

However, one local pastor who attended the meeting opposed the order.

Bishop Ronnie C. Crudup, Sr. of New Horizon stated, “At somebody who’s African-American and understand the methods that we use to change things in this society and protest, then you’re going to take all that away and terms of this. Yes it’s the abortion clinic at this thing, but it could be a whole lot of other different things as a part of it.” 

The ordinance was not approved, but revisions are planned to be presented again.

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