Louisville’s Clinic Escorts are thrilled with the news today that Judge Hale has granted the temporary restraining order against the members of the group who were arrested for blockading Louisville’s only abortion provider in May.
We have been paying close attention to the group since the event was announced late last year, and it has long been clear to us that these individuals intend to violate numerous laws in order to disrupt access. To watch them brag about their intent to do so with the expectation that they will face no repercussions has been infuriating. Today they have received a clear message that their interpretation of the Bible does not place them above the law. After having read the orders, we would like to make a few points clear for our supporters and for all those who may find themselves in the area for various reasons during this time.
First, this is a federal matter, separate from the earlier trespassing charges that resulted in the individuals signing an agreement that they would remain across the street from the clinic. It will be enforced by US Marshals, and not by LMPD.
Second, the TRO applies only the named defendants and their associates or those acting in concert with them. The “buffer zone” in front of the clinic that is being enforced by federal marshals does not, per the order, apply to others. In short, the order does not create a buffer zone as most of us are used to thinking of one: it does not establish a space that is to be free of any protesters. This temporary order is in no way related to recent exploratory talks with Louisville Metro Council about a potential safety zone ordinance.
The marshals enforcing the TRO, and keeping those to whom it applies out of the buffer zone area, will have to decide who qualifies. We do not yet know what that will look like.
Finally, the order explicitly confirms the right of volunteer escorts to be present.
Read the official orders here: