Abortion Protestors Win Parking Battle - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/22/03

Abortion Protestors Win Parking Battle

It was business owners vs. abortion protestors. In the middle, the city council, left to decide if protestors were causing so much havoc in a cul-de-sac that 'No Parking' signs would be needed.

"All in favor of the motion," asked the mayor. "Aye," responded six councilmen. "All opposed?" Silence. The vote was unanimous. The city council denying 40 business owners 'No Parking' signs in the cul-de-sac at 67th and Indiana.

"There is not a safety or traffic issue involved here that would warrant the placing of those signs," said City Councilman Victor Hernandez.

The vote culminates a three year effort to move abortion protestors away from local businesses, with allegations that graphic signs and traffic snares were driving away customers. "The 40 businesses, their employees and customers for several years, have complained about traffic, parking, and the grotesque pictures which are displayed against cars at the entrance to each of our parking lots," said businessman Roy Middleton.

Protestors say business owners are simply trying to strong-arm them out of their constitutional right, and that they aren't scarring off customers. "The bottom line is that it doesn't affect their business at all," said protestor David Holiday.

But business owners say the economic impact is very real. Roy Middleton claims to have lost $7,000 from prospective tenants who said they didn't want to be anywhere near abortion signage. "I've owned the building since 1979, and I've never had a suite go vacant that long," he said.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, one of the protestors offered a radical solution. "The real problem is the abortion clinic," said protestor Skeet Workman. She says the city should pass an ordinance banning abortion clinics within city limits, falling under the same umbrella as liquor stores and adult entertainment. "We couldn't have a liquor store there, a gambling hall, why are we allowing an abortion clinic?," she asked.

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