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Abortion protestor agrees to limited space at Downtown clinic entrance

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Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 3:56 p.m.

A Penn Hills abortion protester has agreed to stay an extra 25 feet away from the entrance of the Planned Parenthood clinic on Liberty Avenue, Downtown, in return for the government dropping a lawsuit seeking $20,000 in damages and penalties, according to a consent order approved Thursday in federal court.

The Justice Department claimed in the civil lawsuit that Meredith Parente, 56, violated the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances act by shoving two volunteers on Jan. 15, 2011.

A city ordinance prohibits protesters from coming within 15 feet of the entrance.

U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak approved the order requiring Parente to stay at least 25 feet away for at least the next five years. The order notes that she is allowed to drive on Liberty Avenue past the clinic; the restriction only applies to her and anyone with her when she's protesting on the sidewalk.

Neither side admits liability in the consent decree.

Parente's lawyer, Lawrence Paladin, couldn't be reached for comment. The U.S. Attorney's Office declined comment.

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