Council Delays Protest Ordinance Change

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — In the wake of heated protests outside a Huntsville abortion clinic, city staff are recommending changes to the current ordinances that cover public assembly.

Thursday evening city council was scheduled to vote on changes to those ordinances but decided to push back the vote due to the amount of community input. There may be a special public workshop set up to cover the issue next month.

Rev. James Henderson and his group of pro-life protesters have positioned themselves in front of the Alabama Women’s Center in downtown Huntsville for years, but recent clashes with pro-choice supporters have city staff proposing changes to the city ordinance dealing with assembly on public property.

Read The Complete Proposed Ordinance here.

Huntsville currently requires “minor events” like the organized protest by pro-life supporters to obtain a permit to use the public sidewalk. Under the change, those types of gatherings may no longer need to have a permit.

Henderson believes this could open the door to further problems when more than one group wants to use the same space to hold an assembly.

Members of a pro-choice group that escorts patients into the clinic says they are happy council is taking a good look at giving everyone equal access to free speech. Members say they have been working quietly behind the scenes with city staff and police to come up with solutions to the current conflict.

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