By Peter J. Smith

CHICAGO, August 13, 2010 ( – The City of Chicago has yet again dropped charges of “disorderly conduct” against another pro-life advocate accused by Planned Parenthood staffers of violating the city’s controversial “Bubble Zone” ordinance.

David Avignone, an MBA student at Loyola University Chicago, was arrested on July 8 while standing outside Planned Parenthood’s Near North Side clinic just five days after police arrested Joe Holland, a Northwestern University graduate student, while he prayed his rosary at the same place.

Like Holland, Avignone was accused of violating a city ordinance passed in 2009 that prohibits individuals in the 50 foot radius of an abortion clinic from approaching within eight feet of its clients, without consent, “for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to, displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education, or counseling.”

Holland’s case was dismissed on August 3, after the city dropped the charges.

The Thomas More Society, which represented both Avignone and Holland, contend that Planned Parenthood staffers’ accusations of “disorderly conduct” within the “bubble zone” are meant to intimidate pro-life advocates, who discovered that they could comply with the ordinance and carry on their pro-life witness, simply by standing near the entrance of the clinic, instead of approaching the abortion facility’s clients as they enter.

“We are pleased that for the second time, the City of Chicago has dismissed the false charges of disorderly conduct against a man who was properly and legally exercising his First Amendment rights on the public way,” said Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel at the Thomas More Society.

“We hope these two baseless cases involving alleged ‘Bubble Zone”infractions’ show the Chicago City Council why it should repeal this controversial ordinance altogether and cease efforts to scare pro-life people away from Planned Parenthood.”

Both the Thomas More Society and the Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union have challenged the constitutionality of the law.

Pro-life advocates with the Pro-Life Action League have stated that Chicago police have previously misinterpreted the ordinance after getting their interpretation from Planned Parenthood’s employees. Pro-Life Action League’s projects coordinator, Corrina Gura, said that Planned Parenthood gives the officers “their version of what they wish the law said, then they ask the police to enforce their imaginary law.”

See related coverage by

Pro-Lifers Burst Planned Parenthood’s Inflated Version of Bubble Zone Law

Rockford Pro-Lifers Fight ‘Bubble Zone’ Law Protecting Notorious Abortion Facility

Deluge of Pro-Life Protest after Chicago Bubble Zone Law Passes

Bursting the Bubble: Pro-life Advocates Fight Chicago Law Aimed to Kill 40 Days for Life Vigil