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Update: Buffer Zone Re-instated for Mass. Abortion Clinics

A federal Appeals Court has reversed a lower court judge’s ruling that the Massachusetts Buffer Zone law is unconstitutional. In late November, US District Judge Edward Harrington banned buffer zones, stating the law is unconstitutional and violates the free speech rights of anti-choice protesters. Harrington also stated the law unfairly discriminates against people protesting abortions because it forces them to stand at a distance, while clinic workers are allowed to approach and escort patients into the clinic. Massachusetts State Attorney General Thomas Reilly appealed Harrington’s ruling, arguing that the law is not a free speech case but one of public safety. The 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals lifted Harrington’s order, stating the Buffer Zone law was likely to be proven constitutionally sound.

Sources:

Reuters _ December 27, 2000; AP _ December 27, 2000; Boston Globe _ December 27, 2000; Feminist Majority Foundation _ November 21 & 22, 2000