On Monday, June 24, in a historic 8-3 vote, Charlotte City Council passed changes to the city’s noise ordinance that create 150 foot buffer zones around medical facilities, schools, and places of worship. The buffer zones eliminate amplified noise and unreasonably loud other sounds within 150 feet of these vulnerable spaces. The changes will significantly decrease harassment and intimidation for patients seeking abortion care in our city. Thank you to Charlotte City Council for voting for these changes!
Over 120 speakers addressed city council during a lengthy public forum. Many speakers opposing the changes to the ordinance talked about abortion, religion, and infringement on constitutional rights. But the vote wasn’t about religion or whether or not someone believes abortion is right or wrong. It was about making sure all residents in Charlotte feel safe when accessing healthcare, education, and places of worship. There are limits to our constitutional freedoms. Freedom of religion does not mean you get to force others to live by your beliefs. Freedom of speech does not mean you get to force others to be exposed to harmful levels of noise. There are limits to our constitutional rights and those limits begin when the expression of one’s freedoms infringes upon another’s right to express their freedoms – their rightful, lawful choices. The buffer zone will not prevent protesters from being present, holding signs, handing out literature, or expressing their beliefs in a peaceful, non-disruptive manner. The buffer zone does not infringe on First Amendment rights.
The changes come after many years of hard work, dedication, and persistence by volunteers, advocates, elected officials, clinic staff, local business owners, and community members. Our work is not done; we have much more to fight for. However, the noise buffer zone will greatly improve the patient experience and help all residents feel more safe when accessing healthcare, education, and places of worship.
On Friday, June 28, we celebrated! The community came together for a night of unity, food, drink, and celebration! It was a great night!