City Council to consider ordinance punishing disruptions at healthcare facilities

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SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane City Council will be reading an ordinance designed to prevent disruptions at healthcare facilities.

The Health Care Facility Noise Ordinance was introduced by Councilwoman Lori Kinnear, and is designed to prevent disturbances at health care facilities like Planned Parenthood. It will combine “noise disturbance prohibitions” in these facilities with the provisions already in effect in the City.

It was introduced in direct response to protests outside Planned Parenthood.

RELATED: Councilwoman drafts law to quiet protests at facilities like Planned Parenthood

The ordinance will amend the Spokane City Municipal Code, adding sections specifically related to disturbances at health clinics – including obstruction, impediment, trespassing, repeated calling, threatening and generally disrupting the “normal functioning of such [facilities].”

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Any violations will count as a class 1 civil infraction, according to the ordinance, and a repeated similar offense within a year of the first is a gross misdemeanor.

The punitive fines have also been raised in the ordinance—the first conviction will result in a fine of $500 and a day in jail, whereas repeated offenses will result in $700 and at least seven days in jail, then $1000 and a month in jail.

Lawful picketing and other publicity is still allowed.