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Buffer Zone Law To Be Argued Before Supreme Court

Anti-abortion protester Eleanor McCullen standing at the painted edge of a buffer zone outside a Planned Parenthood location in Boston. (Steven Senne/AP)

Anti-abortion protester Eleanor McCullen standing at the painted edge of a buffer zone outside a Planned Parenthood location in Boston. (Steven Senne/AP)

A Massachusetts case has made its way to the Supreme Court. On Wednesday, justices will hear McCullen vs. Coakley, a case that challenges a 2007 Massachusetts law requiring a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics.

Anti-abortion protesters say the law inhibits their right to free speech, and that public sidewalks have historically been the most common forum for public debate. But supporters of the buffer zone say the law prevents protesters from harassing patients. They also point to the need for public safety. In 1994, John Salvi walked into two Brookline Planned Parenthood clinics with a rifle and opened fire, killing two people and wounding five others.

WBUR’s Meghna Chakrabarti spoke with Philip Moran, a Salem-based lawyer and one of the four attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the buffer zone Supreme Court case.

WBUR’s Anthony Brooks also spoke with Attorney General Martha Coakley about her argument in favor of the buffer zones.

Guests

Philip Moran, Salem-based lawyer and one of the four attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the buffer zone Supreme Court case.

Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Attorney General. She tweets at @MassAGO.

More

Boston Globe: Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones’ Fate In Hands Of High Court

  • “Legal analysts say the court will have a specific task in reviewing the Massachusetts law: It will have to weigh free speech rights against the state’s ability to enact what it considers a public safety regulation, citing years of intimidation and harassment by protesters.”

WBUR: Abortion Clinics And Buffer Zones

  • “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.”

Other stories from this show:

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • J__o__h__n

    There is a zone around poling locations to protect voters. Why should anti-abortion zealots have more rights than that?

  • J__o__h__n

    What kind of an idiot thinks that women go have abortions on a whim and that someone harassing them is going to change their mind at the last minute?

Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

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