US Supreme Court Lets Stand Massachusetts Abortion Clinic Buffer Law

By declining to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling, the US Supreme Court earlier this week let stand a Massachusetts law that prohibits protesters from coming within six feet of abortion clinic patients to disturb them or hand them leaflets. The law, which also establishes an 18-foot zone around abortion clinics in which protestors cannot interact with visitors or staff, had been ruled as constitutional last October by the 1st US Circuit Court. The law’s creation was prompted by the killing of two clinic staff in two separate Massachusetts clinics by John Salvi in December 1994.

“This is really a common sense measure,” Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly said, according to the Boston Globe. “It protects a woman’s right to seek medical care without being intimidated and harassed É you can’t be getting in someone’s face.”

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Boston Globe 4/19/05; Washington Times 4/19/05; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 4/19/05; Feminist Daily News Wire 3/9/96, 11/13/00

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