Those banners flying along Market Street to promote reproductive rights – sporting slogans including “U.S. Out of My Uterus” – sure are eye-catching. They’ve even caught the eye of a pro-life group called Life Legal Defense Foundation that is demanding that the city take them down.
The banners are the brainchild of The Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women, which was founded by two local women who believe reproductive rights are in jeopardy at the state and federal level. They’re aimed at getting the city’s pro-choice community to speak out more effectively for a woman’s right to choose; other slogans include “Her Decision, Her Choice” and “San Francisco is Pro-Choice.”
But the Life Legal Defense Foundation has complained to the Department of Public Works that the banners are illegal because they’re not promoting a particular event, as required by city code. The code states that banners can be hung in conjunction with an “event or series of events of interest to a significant portion of the residents of San Francisco” and that organizers must “reasonably expect an in-person attendance of 500 or more people for a single event or 1,000 or more people for a series of events.”
A spokeswoman for DPW told us the department issued a banner permit on Dec. 20 for the “Walk for Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign” event, a “parade/walk on a portion of Market Street from 6-8 p.m. on Friday January 20, 2012.” The group also applied for and received a parade/walk permit from the police department in November. The police permit, according to DPW, also includes an event at Justin Herman Plaza on Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. called “Celebration to Trust Women.”