WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KRON) — In the East Bay, a contentious battle over First Amendment rights and the choice to seek healthcare options about abortion.

The Planned Parenthood in Walnut Creek has been the site of several protests, including one that got physical.

The city council has taken action and explained how the goal is to respect both sides of this issue.

“We have heard stories of people getting pepper sprayed by protestors.”

That was Walnut Creek Mayor Matt Francois who described how emotions have escalated.

In a two-year period, 42 calls have been made to police for help.

Staff and patients have a right to safety, says Francois.

In response, the city council took action.

By unanimous vote, a move forward to draft a buffer zone ordinance creating space for protestors and safe passage for patients and staff.

The mayor says this is not about taking a side in the issue, but about everyone’s safety.

Although still being worked out by the city attorney, besides creating a safe zone, it would also give guidance to law enforcement in which a violator could be arrested and charged.

The council hopes to consider a final vote next month.