1Prohibiting certain interference with access to health care
2facilities; and prescribing penalties.

3The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
4hereby enacts as follows:

5Section 1. Short title.

6This act shall be known and may be cited as the Interference
7with Access to Health Care Facilities Act.

8Section 2. Legislative findings.

9The General Assembly finds that:

10(1) Access to health care facilities for the purpose of
11obtaining medical counseling and treatment is important for
12residents of and visitors to this Commonwealth and that the
13Commonwealth has a substantial interest in protecting such

15(2) The people's right to protest or counsel against
16certain medical procedures is protected by the First
17Amendment and the exercise of this right must be balanced

1against the people's right to obtain medical counseling and
2treatment free from violence, intimidation or obstruction.

3(3) The law enforcement resources of the Commonwealth
4and its municipalities have been consistently called upon to
5mediate the disputes between persons seeking medical
6counseling and treatment and persons who would counsel
7against their actions so as to:

8(i) prevent violent confrontations which would lead
9to criminal charges; and

10(ii) enforce existing State law and local ordinances
11which regulate use of public sidewalks and other conduct.

12(4) There is a need to reduce the risk of violence and
13ensure unobstructed access to health care facilities, which
14need may be met by setting clear guidelines for activity in
15the immediate vicinity of the entrances to health care

17(5) This act should be construed and enforced in a
18content-neutral manner, without regard to the message or
19viewpoint of a speaker.

20(6) The limited buffer zones outside of health care
21facilities established by this act will allow patients to
22have safe and unimpeded access to medical services, while
23ensuring that the constitutional rights of protesters to
24communicate their message to their intended audience is not

26Section 3. Definition.

27For purposes of this act, "health care facility" means a
28hospital, abortion facility, ambulatory surgical facility,
29medical office, physical or psychological therapy facility or
30clinic, including their buildings, appurtenances and grounds,

1parking facilities and driveways.

2Section 4. Buffer zone.

3(a) General Rule.--No person may knowingly congregate,
4patrol, picket or demonstrate in a zone extending 15 feet from
5any portion of an entrance to or exit from a health care
6facility or any portion of an entrance to or exit from a
7driveway or parking facility appurtenant to a health care

9(b) Applicability.--

10(1) Subsection (a) shall not apply to:

11(i) police and public safety officers, fire and
12rescue personnel or other emergency workers in the course
13of their official business; or

14(ii) authorized security personnel, employees or
15agents of the health care facility whose activities
16within the 15-foot buffer zone are limited to assisting
17patients and other persons to enter or exit the health
18care facility and preventing unauthorized entry.

19(2) The provisions of this section shall apply equally
20to all persons regardless of the content of their speech.

21Section 5. Penalties.

22(a) General rule.--Any person who pleads guilty or nolo
23contendere, or is convicted of violating this section shall be
24guilty of a summary offense and shall be sentenced:

25(1) For a first offense, to a fine of at least $100 or a
26term of imprisonment for no more than ten days and to pay all
27court costs.

28(2) For a second offense, within five years, to a fine
29of at least $150 or a term of no more than 20 days and to pay
30all court costs.

1(3) For a third or subsequent offense, within five
2years, to a fine of $300 or to a term of imprisonment of no
3less than 30 days and no more than 90 days and to pay all
4court costs.

5(b) Fines and costs.--Any fine or costs imposed by the court
6shall be entered as a judgment against the person sentenced.

7(c) Payment of fine.--In the event that the court exercises
8its discretion to fine rather than incarcerate a person found to
9have violated this act, the court shall order that the fine be
10paid within ten days, and that failure to pay such a fine within
11that period shall result in incarceration for a term of at least
12ten days.

13Section 6. Severability.

14The provisions of this act are severable. If any portion or
15application of this act is held invalid, unenforceable or
16unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, it
17shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions or
18applications of this act which shall be given full force and

20Section 7. Preemption.

21This act shall not preempt or limit the application of any
22county or municipal ordinance or resolution or part thereof
23providing greater protection than this act.

24Section 8. Effective date.

25This act shall take effect in 60 days.