Petition against Anti-Choice protests in New Haven, CT
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We, the undersigned citizens of, and visitors to, the Greater New Haven area, petition for the removal of protesters from the sidewalk and driveway area of 345 Whitney Ave, New Haven, CT which is on Edwards St. The protesters constitute an immediate threat to public safety, an overall threat to public health, and are improperly exercising their First Amendment Rights.
New Haven is an active and vibrant community. Walking, running, and biking are common. While bicycles are to stay in the road, walkers and runners must remain on sidewalks. The protesters are always standing on the sidewalk, seldom paying attention to anything other than the building they are protesting. In order for them to be aware, one must draw attention to the fact they are there and that their progress down the sidewalk is being impeded. For a runner, who may be coming down the sidewalk, often tired, short of breath, focused on what they are doing, and travelling at speeds often over twice to three times that of a walker, this can be very dangerous.
Not only is the chance of a collision with one of these protesters possible. But such a collision could cause grave injury to both runner and protester. Runners are often training for races, and an injury could not just be physical pain or worse, but may cause them to miss an event, costing them financially as race registration fees are not often refundable.
Then there is the protester, who is normally standing around, not paying attention. Physics favors the object in motion. Nobody wants to hurt another person, and the Laws of Physics tell us that a protester would most likely end up with more severe injuries than a runner. Their fervor in their task, puts them at grave risk. There are many anecdotal instances of this happening, inattentive people being seriously injured or killed because they were not paying attention to their surroundings and got themselves in the way of a runner, cyclist, or other person moving at a high rate of speed.
Not to mention this leaves the runner open to action, either criminal or civil, for the injuries. But as stated, on a particularly hot, or poor air quality day the runner may not be fully aware of their surroundings due to the biomechanics of running, breathing, and the effects on the brain. People standing in the sidewalk, doing nothing, really should have the responsibility to look out for people around them. These protesters do not. They are, in this respect, a threat to public safety. With no other reason, this should be enough to remove them permanently.
These protesters are against an organization that provides STI testing, among which is HIV testing. The primary services given by this organization are reproductive health screenings, and checkups, as well as contraceptive care. Given the high rate of IV drug use in this area, having an organization offering low and no-cost HIV screening is critical to keeping the infection rates down. In hindering entrance, whether intentionally or unintentionally, they may keep people away who may need these STI and HIV screenings, they may be responsible for someone infected not getting tested. If they were successful in their stated goal of shutting down this organization, then surely hundreds, if not thousands of people in our area would go untested, and infection rates would rise. This is a clear danger to public health. This also should be enough to constitute an immediate cease and permanent ban of protests outside the above-mentioned facility.
Lastly, exercising their free speech does not seem to apply here. The organization they are protesting is not a government agency. The agency is acting within the law, and providing services consistent with their mission. The protesters are looking to change the law, to shut down this organization. The protest is against the law, against the government. If they want to protest they should be in front of City Hall, on the Green, or at the State, or Federal Capitol. Petitioning individual people as they leave or enter an establishment of healthcare it is certainly not part of the intent of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. They do not direct their protest at the building or facilities. They merely put out unscientific posters, pseudo-scientific pamphlets and harangue those entering and exiting the building. That, statistically speaking, only 3% of the people entering and exiting the facility are there to talk about, or receive the service the protesters are there to eliminate makes this form of “speech” simply harassment. While harassment is sometime upheld as free speech and other times not, it is fair to say this harassment is unwarranted, and coupled with the reasonable public safety threat of people moving down the sidewalk would make this speech not protected.
In conclusion, these protesters should be removed immediately and permanently from the sidewalk outside of the facility on the corner of Whitney Ave. and Edwards St. in New Haven. They are a threat to public safety, public health, and they are improperly exercising their First Amendment rights. This daily protest is a public menace and needs to end.
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