Passing a Clinic Protection Law in Columbus, OH

Policy Win
Expanding Abortion Access

In June 2016, the Columbus, OH City Council unanimously passed the “Healthcare Workers and Patient Protection Ordinance.” The measure establishes a 15-foot zone around clinics, within which there are enhanced penalties for engaging in “disorderly conduct.” This ordinance also prohibits obstruction of clinic entrances and premises, and prohibits conduct within the buffer zone that “places another person in reasonable fear of physical harm, or attempts to do the same.” Councilmember Elizabeth Brown sponsored the ordinance, and the introductory text cites “the disturbing trend of increasing threats of violence and vandalism” at reproductive health care facilities as the explanation for the measure. Advocates, led by Pro-Choice Ohio (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio), applauded the City Council for their efforts to protect patients and clinic staff from increasing anti-choice harassment.