Walnut Creek will adopt amendment to limit noise, harassment at Planned Parenthood

Walnut Creek’s city council says it will amend an ordinance that they hope will help reduce noise and harassment near a local Planned Parenthood facility. Police say residents and businesses have made dozens of complaints about loud speech and music from protesters and now the city is taking action.   

On Tuesday night, people who live and work near the Planned Parenthood on Oakland Boulevard in Walnut Creek told the council about how their lives have been affected by loud protestors.          

"I have recordings that I’d like to play for you, to show how loud it is compared to the ambient noise. I am 40–50 feet away from these people," said Sandy Fink, a Planned Parenthood volunteer. 

"The protestors are using voice augmenting devices and saying horrible things. I went into the clinic because I wanted to see how loud it was. You could hear everything that was being said loud and clear."

Walnut Creek adopted an ordinance in 2022 to protect access to Planned Parenthood, prohibiting protestors from gathering within 8-feet of its entrances. Since then, police say they’ve received 36 calls about protester-related noise and patient-harassment. Now Walnut Creek says it’ll adopt an ordinance prohibiting sound amplifiers like a bullhorn from use within 100 feet of the property’s entrances. 

There are options for potentially putting up a sign. There may be an option of depicting or painting some sort of line, an indication on the ground or sidewalks," said Ali Wolf, Walnut Creek Asst. City Attorney. 

During the meeting, anti-abortion advocates said the city hasn’t said how loud bullhorns or microphones can be, and they simply want to get the attention of women entering Planned Parenthood.

"I’ve had the privilege of counseling 24 moms to choose life. All of this was made possible partly because they could hear me," said Sophia Martin, an anti-abortion advocate. 

"Again, I believe that some amplification of some levels should be allowed, so we can be heard by those walking in," said another anti-abortion advocate. 

 The council plans to officially adopt the amendment to the ordinance next week, and it'll become effective 30 days later.