Reading the Supreme Court’s opinion in the Massachusetts buffer zone case, you might get the idea that free speech in the form of protests and handing out literature about social and political issues is practiced without restriction in the United States. But that is not the case.
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.
The high court hasn’t yet ruled on buffer zones or Hobby Lobby, but it did say a legal challenge to an Ohio elections law can proceed.
Flanked by lawmakers and supporters, Democratic New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill Tuesday that will create a 25-foot buffer zone around the five clinics that provide abortion services in the state.
On Thursday, the state senate voted on final passage of a bill that would create a 25-foot buffer zone around the five clinics in the state that provide abortion services.
Introduced by Sen. Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), SB 319 was a response to protests in front of Planned Parenthood in Manchester, where more than than 60 patient complaints have been logged since the beginning of 2013.
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.