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City of Plattsburgh sets buffer zone for pro-life activists - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

City of Plattsburgh sets buffer zone for pro-life activists

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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -

The city of Plattsburgh says pro-life activists can rally outside Planned Parenthood on Good Friday, but even with this approval, most are calling it a compromise. The city's Common Council says it's always been a complicated issue.

"Make sure all residents of the North County feel they are able to exercise their rights and that they'll be protected by the city," said Joshua Kretser from the Plattsburgh Common Council.

The pro-life and pro-choice debate is an ongoing issue everywhere.

Last year in Burlington, the Planned Parenthood facility asked for a buffer zone around its property to keep activists at a distance.

Now it seems something similar is happening at the Planned Parenthood center across the lake in Plattsburgh. 

The Plattsburgh Common Council has agreed to let the religious group gather on Good Friday. This is the first time the group will be gathering across the street from Planned Parenthood, rather than right in front of it.

"First time that they've denied us the permission to block off three parking spaces for Good Friday service," said Kathleen St. Denis from Plattsburgh. 

A federal judge ruled the buffer zone at the Burlington clinic is constitutional after protesters said it violated their freedom of speech. Common Council members in Plattsburgh say one reason for their change in location for the pro-life group rally is a safety concern. 

"The number of people that would be attending the vigil would have their backs to traffic on Brinkerhoff Street, and this would actually allow them to see the traffic going by so that they wouldn't be in harm's way at all," said Krester. 

In a statement regarding the Good Friday rally in Plattsburgh, the head of public relations for Planned Parenthood in New York says that we all have a right to free speech and assembly, as long as we abide by the regulations of our localities. 

Members of the Right to Life organization and others like it will still be outside the Plattsburgh Planned Parenthood building this Good Friday. 

"Apostles for Life need to be able to exercise their freedom of speech and freedom to assemble. But also patrons of Northern Adirondack Planned Parenthood, we need to provide them with a comfortable atmosphere to be able to utilize legal services," said Kretser.

In Massachusetts the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether to keep buffer zones around abortion clinics there, similar to the one in Burlington. 

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