Most Media Missed Chance to Uncover Violent Undercurrents in McCullen

In the hours following the Supreme Court’s ruling on “safety buffer zones”, few mainstream media outlets called attention to the violence that necessitated them; but social media was awash with stories about violence, harassment, and intimidation at clinics.

Hashtags like #ProtectTheZone, #ClinicViolenceIsReal,#NotCounseling, #SCOTUSFail, #clinicthreats, #antichoiceterrorists–all appeared in thousands of tweets from firsthand victims of clinic violence. The Rachel Maddow Show was one of the only prominent cable media voices to immediately weigh in on the reason safety buffer zones came to be. “Let this paint a picture for you,” Maddow opened.

Maddow went on to review the murders of doctors in Pensacola and an escort in Pensacola, as well as the murders of two young women in Brookline, Mass. clinics. She recounted the murders of 38-year-old Lee Ann Nichols, and 25-year-old, Shannon Lowney. Both women were clinic receptionists in Brookline, Mass. John C. Salvi killed Lowney and Nichols, and was captured a day later in Norfolk, Va, where he shot up a third reproductive health clinic.

Her guest, Marty Walz (President of the Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts) said of the Supreme Court decision, “They didn’t do anything about their own buffer zone law, so apparently they think they have one set of rules, and women seeking healthcare should be subjected to a different set of rules.”

Walz went on to say PPFA lawyers are reviewing the Supreme Court’s decision, and they will frame a new buffer zone law that complies with the ruling.


Feminist News Wire, 6/26/14; Twitter; MSNBC.com, 6/26/14; Open Jurist, 2/20/98

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