Planned Parenthood's offices

A San Francisco supervisor is looking to expand the zone that separates reproductive health clinics like Planned Parenthood from anti-abortion protesters. Supervisor David Campos wants to replace the current eight-foot “bubble zone” with a 25-foot buffer around the entrances, exits and driveways of clinics that offer reproductive services. Supporters say it will protect the patients who visit these clinics from being harassed — but protesters say it infringes on their free speech rights.

David Campos, San Francisco supervisor representing District 9
Cathleen Gillies, co-coordinator of 40 Days for Life in San Francisco, a group of volunteers who promote ending abortion through prayer vigils outside abortion facilities

  • thucy

    They need a buffer? Hey, when I was a girl, we had to walk four miles through the snow to get birth control pills at Planned Parenthood, and fight off (gladiator-style) legions of crazy pro-lifers with their stupid signs just to get a pap smear appointment.
    Okay, there was no snow, but seriously, ignoring the pro-lifers outside Planned Parenthood has been a rite of passage for young women for as long as I can remember (see Denis Johnson’s “Jesus’ Son” or writers Fay Weldon or Bobbi Ann Mason, etc) and if girls today can’t handle something as inconsequential as pro-life protesters, then God help them, as they have lost all womanly fortitude.
    More to the point: David Campos is just doing a version of the typical San Francisco shuffle: when you and your fellow board of supes lose 20 mil of taxpayer money to billionaire Larry Ellison, then DISTRACT! DISTRACT! and preferably with a measure that focuses on a) abortion or b) gay marriage.
    In other words, forget about affordable housing – rich political donors don’t understand the need, and THAT’S who the Board of Supes really answers to, not ordinary workers.

    • R

      Yes to the point David Campos, what do you mean by harrassment and intimidation

      • Cathleen Gillies

        Thanks thucy – agreed why are we wasting time and energy on a proposal that does nothing to benefit his constituents. He is supporting the future death of San Franciscans – if the only work going on at PP is not abortion related why on Saturdays when I pray there are women walking into Planned Parenthood and walking out asking us for our rachel’s vineyard materials?

        • thucy

          Ms. Gillies:
          Let me be perfectly clear: The fact that I think this is a distraction from what the Board of Supes should be working on does NOT mean that I approve of your idiotic harrassment of other women. I think you and your cabal should find something constructive to do with your time, not the harassment you are engaged in. I hope and pray that today’s generation of women will not be dissuaded from necessary care at Planned Parenthood because of your nonsense.

          • Cathleen Gillies

            It’s our free time and we find praying and sharing adoption materials, free pregnancy tests, budgeting programs and mercy is fun.

    • thucy

      I’m not sure about Campos, but let’s all use this opportunity to go to the Planned Parenthood website and make a donation. They do great work for women, and for the communities in which we all live.

  • Terri

    Aww, Those poor women. Being “harassed” by peaceful pro-lifers praying outside of the building where they go to kill their own unborn children. Heaven forbid. Praying is not violent and causes no one harm. It was also their Constitutional right to peacefully protest, last time I checked. Get over it..

    • thucy

      See that, ladies? “Terri” doesn’t even acknowledge that most of Planned Parenthood’s work isn’t abortion, but pap smears, birth control, breast checks, etc.
      Without Planned Parenthood, a lot more abortions would take place, because women would not have access to birth control pills.
      Without Planned Parenthood, a lot of women wouldn’t have health care at all. So when you see Terri and her friends protesting on your way in to get a checkup at PP, you can have compassion for Terri, but you must still do what needs to be done for your future, and “Terri” is, let’s face it, totally inconsequential to that future. Ignoring the Terri’s of the world is, for a lot of working class women who can’t afford a private physician, an unacknowledged rite of passage, like going through confirmation if you’re Catholic. Don’t let them shame you.

  • Cathleen Gillies

    As a former receiver of the free pap smears and free birth control hormone filled pills – this is going to be a conversation about the first amendment the freedom to assemble to share information in the public square so that women and men can have lots of information to determine if they want to use contraception and of the dangers of RU486 which is a pill that kills…not only the baby but at times the unsuspecting mother. 18000 pregnancies are terminated in San Francisco annually – the group that gathers to pray outside this centers has a 40yr history of hope and counsel. It’s fun to share the story of the mom joining us to pray for her adopted daughter, the adopted adults in our San Francisco community and the young students who see their bodies not as objects to be “played” with but as a gift that provides them the tools to activiate their intellect to create and build a wonderful city What if Cesar Chavez’s mother walked by 1650 Valencia and our information was not made available to her and she terminated Cesar because they were poor – we’d still be using Army St.

  • R

    David do you have kids, next time when you walk your district, take a look at the younger generation who are playing on the playgrounds.

  • Cathy

    While it’s good to hear that this group protests peacefully, she fails to grasp that her group is not the only group that protests Planned Parenthood who may not be as peaceful which is something I have witnessed before more than once.

    • Cathleen Gillies

      I would like the 8 board of supervisors to show evidence of threats from pro life advocates in San Francisco that warrant and support this proposition. The other day 3 African american males approached us to find out why we are there…we laughed together and they shared with us that they didn’t realize so many mothers in San Francisco feel the life of their child in the womb doesn’t need to live. Meeting people one on one after working 50 hours a week to provide food for my family and pay the taxes to help our city of 750k with a 7billion annual budget is far more effective than trying to change a system where it is who you know and how much money you have to be an elected official here and pass legislation that inhibits our first amendment.

      • Paycho

        I was really worried that the males who approached you weren’t African American but thank you for showing how non-racist you are by placing weird emphasis on that.

      • Chris OConnell

        It is great that you are out acting on your beliefs. But what I don’t understand is that if every life is so sacred, why don’t you help all the children that have already been born that are poor and desperate. Is not that a more immediate priority. Do you know that literally 9 million under the age of 5 die every day in this brutal world? 9 million! That is over a thousand every hour. Another one just died now. And another again. Let that sink in for a moment, and a few more children will die.

        And your priority is to meddle into other people’s personal lives to fight and advocate for the unborn? I don’t trust your priorities.

        • Cathleen Gillies

          Since my birth I’ve been reaching out to the vulnerable, poor, confused and doing the best I can to advocate for them. My desire to advocate for the silent suffering in our community won’t stop and doesn’t overwhelm me.

  • Guest

    Since this buffer is only imposed around “clinics that provide reproductive services” isn’t it content based? It is aimed at pro-life groups. This makes it not narrowly tailored, but a content based restriction and not a time place or manner restriction.

  • Stacy

    The guest is arguing that the shame of going to these clinics warrants
    the right to protest. But if a woman has made a decision, it seems that
    these activists are only adding to the shame and or feelings surrounding this choice.

    • Cathleen Gillies

      I really thought I was explaining my right as a US Citizen to assemble in the public square to discuss that women deserve better than abortion. The experience of myself and the 400 plus San Francisco volunteers of 40days come from an arrange of ages from children to people near 100 and from welfare recipients and domestic violence escapes to doctors, nurses, lawyers, bankers, stay at home moms, local plumbers, and painters…etc. We are a community of people eager to stop offer life for the moms that are in financial crisis, substance abusers, or college students — that the life in their body is a human and deserves a chance to have a voice. Many of the women going to the Valencia st facility for example are receiving the pill and we are their to provide information that may make a gal think about how she is using her body.

      • Stacy

        Of course people have the right to freedom of speech, I am suggesting that your argument for why you are doing what you are doing is flawed. If you could isolate the people who had just had their pregnancies confirmed and offer them information about options that would be one thing. But you are reaching people who have already made a decision that you yourself have admitted is a difficult one and compounding those emotions with your actions. Perhaps your group does not harass, but there is no doubt that some do – and these men and women who have made a choice about their own health care deserve respect, privacy and to feel secure.

        • Cathleen Gillies

          The women come to us and share their stories. We don’t need to isolate the people and violate the people using pp facilities on Valencia – they video tape the inside and outside of their faciity.

    • Cathleen Gillies

      Women come out in tears from PP – one gal didn’t have the $35 the Valencia St location charges for a pregnancy test. She was relieved to receive our materials for free tests at other locations in San Francisco.

  • Maybe planned parenthood should have an inside consultant that has options outside of an abortion. Cathleen mentioned how dark a pp office is and maybe this is opportunity for counseling.

    • thucy

      Planned Parenthood has ALWAYS had options beyond abortion.

      • Cathleen Gillies

        Hello Christine and thucy – my own personal experience and from being an informative advocate for women outside of abortion faciities specifically on Valencia street doesn’t agree with your experience. A few weeks ago a mother and father saw our adoption option information and brought it into the Valencia planned parenthood and with it took their teenage daughter out of the abortion facility to discuss this other alternative.

        • I think information is powerful but where the information is and how it is presented is key.

          • Cathleen Gillies

            Correct and the people we engage with while standing on public property we are able to listen to where our community of men and women are coming from and have a critical conversation. Hopefully bringing hope and hospitality to our city through our materials and information.

  • Marie Smith

    1. Does Cathleen Gillies’s group also oppose the other support provided by Planned Parenthood – eg contraceptive services?

    2.Even if her group does not harass those entering thew clinics, the fact
    remains that others do so. If the larger buffer zone is not a solution to the harassment, what simple, cheap alternative do she and her sympathizers propose instead?

    • Cathleen Gillies

      Hello Marie – we offer support of all information that allows a woman the ability to have make her best decision for what is best for her daily life and during the time that she might be pregnant. I left a message with Supervisor Campos and hope that we can have a visit. We all have the same interests – to keep San Francisco as the premiere place to live for women, children and men.

      • bloy7384

        Unfortunately, you didn’t answer Marie’s first question. Do you support contraceptive services or don’t you?

        • Cathleen Gillies

          That’s a women’s personal choice.

  • Lalameda

    I went to the Forty Days for Life website. They have no resources on that website for women with a problem pregnancy. They have stories about women leaving the clinic before or after having “run the gauntlet” through the protesters. This looks to me like just another Corporate Christianist group looking to collect money from people that think opposing abortion is a “get out of Hell free card.”

    Too bad there isn’t any money to be collected by groups working to reduce infant mortality rates among poor women in Mississippi, provide prenatal care for poor women, improve economic opportunities for single mothers and their children, and value the lives of children after they are born (prison funding vs education funding).

    The number one institution for the prevention of abortions is Planned Parenthood. That is why I contribute a small amount to them monthly.

  • amyj1276

    very proud to support Supervisor David Campos’ proposal to limit the
    harassment done by these zealous right-wing anti-choice protestors.
    Little disgusts me as much as right wing whack jobs who do their
    damnedest to use their religious beliefs to harm and harass women. If
    these people want to pray, there are plenty of churches for them to do
    so. The delusion that they are in any way helping women is laughable at
    best and dangerous at worst. In fact, if this woman’s group is doing so
    much work “advocating” and “counseling” as she claims, then perhaps that
    group should be regulated in the same way as any other counseling
    organization. I actually would have liked to hear a reasonable argument
    about why they believe this infringes on their rights. It’s unfortunate
    that they had such a poor representative and speaker who couldn’t form a
    coherent, relevant sentence.

    • Cathleen Gillies

      My voting record was not discussed on the program, so I don’t understand why you would write this. Democrats for life is a program you should consider investigating. We offer programs for child care, free pregnancy tests, ultra sounds that can help a woman make a sound decision for her choice. From the growth of our volunteer run program your statements have NO PROOF! Let’s meet for a cup of coffee sometime.

  • mountain_webbie

    Several years ago, I went to a Planned Parenthood clinic to get birth control supplies. I was chased around the parking lot by a mob of nutcases with signs, including approaching me as I got into my car. I see that as threatening behavior by anyone. The comments stating these are just peaceful protesters in not accurate and women should have a safe entry and exit to these or any public facilities. Anti-choice activists have overstepped their boundaries and should be moved to a fenced area nearby, where they can thump their bibles to their hearts content.

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