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Abortion Clinics And Buffer Zones

The 35-foot buffer zone line painted around a Planned Parenthood clinic on Commonwealth Avenue in Brookline, MA. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

The 35-foot buffer zone line painted around a Planned Parenthood clinic on Commonwealth Avenue in Brookline, MA. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

In 1994, John Salvi III shot and killed two abortion clinic workers and wounded five others during attacks on two separate Planned Parenthood clinics in Brookline.

In response to those attacks, the Legislature passed a law that created a 6-foot floating buffer zone around patients and an 18-foot buffer around clinic entrances.

In 2007, Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill that created a firm 35-foot buffer zone around entrances, exits and driveways of abortion providers.

Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to that law, brought by abortion opponents who claim that the buffer zone infringes on their right to free speech.

Guests

Martha Davis, law professor at Northeastern University.

Dana Cody, executive director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation. The group’s amicus brief filed in the case is here.

More

WBUR ” The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to reconsider the constitutionality of a 2007 Massachusetts law that bars protests within 35 feet of abortion clinic entrances, exits and driveways. The justices agreed Monday to hear an appeal from abortion opponents who want the law thrown out, saying it violates their free speech rights.”

SCOTUS Blog “This is a potentially significant case regarding the free speech rights afforded to abortion protesters.  In Hill, the Court affirmed the constitutionality, by a vote of six to three, of a Colorado law that made it illegal for protesters to approach within eight feet of anyone within one hundred feet of a health-care facility for the purpose of counseling, educating, or protesting.”


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