Supreme Court To Determine Constitutionality of MA Buffer Zone
On Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case deciding the legality of a 2007 Massachusetts law that created a 35-foot 'buffer zone' around abortion clinics preventing anti-abortion protesters from entering said buffer zone.
In January of this year, the 1st US. District Court of Appeals determined that a 2007 law establishing a 35-foot "buffer zone" around abortion clinic entrances, exits and driveways did not violate the First Amendment rights of anti-abortion protesters. Protesters claimed that the buffer zone prevented them from conversing with patients in a close proximity. Advocates argued that the law was necessary to protect both patients and clinic staff from anti-abortion intimidation and violence.
The 2007 law has been challenged in court repeatedly. An earlier version of the law was ruled constitutional in 2001 and 2004 also by the 1st US District Court of Appeals. When the law was revised in 2007, it was appealed and upheld in 2009.
The Supreme Court will revisit this decision during its next session, which starts in October. The case is McCullen v. Coakley, 12-1168.