The legal landscape after the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision is taking shape, and it’s a mess.
The legislation was filed in direct response to the Supreme Court’s McCullen v. Coakley decision, which found Massachusetts’ 35-foot buffer zone law to be unconstitutional. Gov. Deval Patrick has supported the legislation from the beginning and is expected to sign it.
Called “An Act to Promote Public Safety and Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities,” the bill was proposed in response to a June Supreme Court ruling that dealt a blow to buffer zone advocates.
I have seen countless women reduced to tears and shaking, just for trying to access the health care to which they are constitutionally entitled. That isn’t peaceful assembly. That is harassment, hiding behind the First Amendment.
I don’t remember ever seeing the word “gentle” used to describe queer activism in the ’90s, anti-war marches in the 2000s, or the Occupy movement in 2011, even though those activists have a much more “gentle” record than anti-choice protesters do.
In striking a Massachusetts buffer zone law, the U.S. Supreme Court has dramatically reframed the debate over balancing the rights of patients and providers with the rights of abortion protesters.
According to the Roberts Court, Massachusetts had not shown that it tried to address clinic protests in a less restrictive means than enacting a fixed 35-foot buffer zone.
For every odious anti-choice bill that passes into law, there are about a dozen others that fail, or never see the light of day. Here’s a list of some major bullets dodged so far this year in the state legislatures.
The Dwyer protocol is meant to protect a defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial by allowing him or her to uncover exculpatory evidence that could impeach a victim’s credibility—such as a victim’s therapy or medical records. The result is that perpetrators get their privacy, while survivors are often robbed of theirs.
Slowly but surely pregnant workers are gaining more workplace protections, but Congress still needs to act.