Huntsville City Council Approves Public Assembly Ordinance

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Huntsville City Council has voted to approve the Public Assembly Ordinance by a vote of 4-1.

At the center of this debate are two groups -- pro-choice and pro-life protesters.

Nearly an hour of public feedback was filled by anti-abortion activists, who have protested outside the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives for nearly 20 years.

"I have to tell you, with all due respect, if you pass this ordinance the blood of innocent babies will be on your hands," said Reverend James Henderson, who has vocally opposed the ordinance since it was first brought up for discussion.

"In the course of city governance it is essential that leadership be fully non-biased in regards to freedom of speech and assembly for all citizens," said Kathryn Norlin, a pro-choice activist in support of the ordinance.

In past meetings, police officials have said they’re worried about escalating tensions between the two groups at Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives, but told council members they’re open to a proposal that would guarantee equal space and access for both groups through a new type of permit.

Councilman Bill Kling was the only vote opposed to the ordinance.

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