WASHINGTON - JANUARY 22: Thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators participating in the "March for Life" gather in front of the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill January 22, 2008 in Washington, DC. The march marks the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Mayor Richard Daley said he'll sign a City Council-approved ordinance which forces protesters to keep a healthy distance from women entering abortion clinics.
"There has to be some civility left in our society. Everybody has the right to demonstrate and picket. But to use words and other things to frighten people going in to seek assistance, that is another question," he said Friday.
The City Council voted two days earlier on the ordinance, which could get violators slapped with a fine up to $500 for coming within eight feet of someone walking into a clinic.
Women say they're routinely approached and handed flyers in anti-abortion activists' last-ditch effort to counsel or change the woman's mind.
After the Council's vote, one anti-abortion activist told the Chicago Tribune that he'll likely bring more graphic pictures of aborted babies to abortion clinics if he can't approach the women walking into them, and he said he would make a personal appeal to Daley.
"He's a good Catholic boy," Joseph Scheidler said. "He knows what abortion is."
But the mayor, Catholic and pro-choice, said he draws a line between religion and politics, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"My religion is very personal. Religion does not play a part when I made a decision on behalf of the people of Chicago," he said.
Daley said he expects a legal challenge, but isn't worried about it. Chicago's ordinance is patterned after an even stricter law in Colorado that has already been challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.