PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Portland City Council is weighing a proposal to create a so-called buffer zone around a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Planned Parenthood and city officials told a council committee hearing Tuesday night that patients entering and leaving the clinic are being harassed and intimidated by a group of anti-abortion protesters who gather each Friday in front of the building on Congress Street.

Police say the protesters aren’t breaking any laws. But supporters of the proposed 35-foot buffer zone around the clinic say patients seeking services at the clinic should not be subjected to intimidation.

A state law in Massachusetts bars protests within 35 feet of entrances and exits to abortion clinics. The law is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court after a challenge from opponents who say it violates their free speech rights.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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