Jacksonville says it has reached an agreement with anti-abortion protestors over how they can demonstrate in the city.
The Thomas More Society sued the city in federal court after they were forbidden from praying and picketing outside the front entrance of the Crist Clinic for Women.
The city says it will now make changes in its ordinance to allow the protests. The changes, which have to be approved by city council, will consider the size of the protest groups, the access of protestors to sidewalks and public areas, and the standards applied with the city decides whether to issue permits. “The City is making changes that are in accord with the evolving standards that courts develop on First Amendment issues but which are still true to our steadfast objective to welcome speech in a respectful and safe atmosphere,” said City Attorney John Carter.
The city says the federal judge has the power to monitor the city's compliance with the agreement, and they expect the lawsuit to be formally dismissed 30 days after a revised ordinance is enacted.
Last month, protestors began a 40 day anti-abortion campaign across the street from the clinic.