U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, the Democratic nominee for governor, today released the following statement in anticipation of the Portland City Council's vote tonight on repealing the city's buffer zone outside of health centers.
"Last month's Supreme Court ruling striking down buffer zones outside of women's health centers was a major set back and disappointment," Michaud said. "If elected governor, I am committed to working with the Legislature and Attorney General's office to move forward with common sense measures that strike the right balance between protecting First Amendment rights and patient safety. These include "floating' or "bubble' protection zones around all health centers, the kind of protected zones that were upheld by the Supreme Court 14 years ago (Hill v. Colorado). They also include clarifying and enforcing our Disorderly Conduct, Failure to Disperse and Obstructing Public Ways laws so women have access to the reproductive health care services they need when they need them, without having to fear for their safety or being harassed by protesters. I also intend to seek guidance from the U.S. Attorney General's office to determine what we can do at the federal level to help family planning health centers in the wake of the Court's recent decision.
"I believe in free speech and the right of all people to freely assemble and express their views. I also believe that all women deserve access to essential health care services, free from bullying, shaming and intimidation--no matter what. I urge those who oppose abortion to express their views respectfully. I will support all measures to protect a woman's right to family planning counseling, her right to birth control and her right to access abortions safely and legally," Michaud said.