Supreme Court Endangers Women by Striking Down Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones



On Thursday, the United States Supreme Court unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that created 35 foot buffer zones around abortion clinic entrances. The 2007 Massachusetts law prevented anti-abortion activists from protesting within 35 feet of a clinic entrance.  The Court rules that the law violated the free speech rights of the protesters.

Sadly, this ruling will encourage anti-abortion protesters to harass, confront, and intimidate women seeking access to safe and legal abortions. The court seems to have interpreted free speech to include the freedom to accost women seeking an abortion face-to-face. While most Americans will agree that anti-abortion activists should have a right to demonstrate in public space near clinics, there is no reason to require that they be allowed to approach people at close range. Politicians who speak in public venues are usually granted a buffer zone to protect them from assault, assassination, or other public safety risks that could be increased by close proximity to constituents.

Given the history of right-wing violence at abortion clinics, the Court’s decision is perplexing. Eliminating the buffer zone increases the risk that women will be accosted, assaulted, or even killed. Anti-choice zealots should not be given unlimited access to the entrances of clinics. In 1994, an anti-abortion activist murdered two people at clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts. The buffer zones were designed to protect women’s access to clinics and to reduce the danger of violent confrontations between anti-choice protesters and women seeking abortion services.


The Supreme Court has struck a blow against safe and legal abortion, by placing women seeking abortion in greater jeopardy. Free speech should not be a license to harass and intimidate fellow Americans under the guise of exercising First Amendment freedoms. Women seeking abortions should be afforded the same protection from protesters as high profile politicians receive at public events. A reasonable buffer zone that does not prevent the right of protesters to assemble to express their point of view should be legal. The right to free speech is not violated by asking people not to stand in the doorway when women are trying to enter a clinic. The Supreme Court’s ruling puts women at risk and sadly the entire Court stands on the wrong side of justice with this ruling.


28 Replies to “Supreme Court Endangers Women by Striking Down Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones”

  1. I all I have to say is this. Fine, you want to harass women then I think we should do one better. All you Jesus freaks in your quaint white painted snake handling churches, what if WE who are the majority picket your Sunday services and harass your cult of sheep? How would you like that?

  2. We have to remember that your rights end where mine begin.
    The individuals seeking this or any other clinic, have the rights to go as they wish without having to listen to others with different views, nor putting up with harrasing treatment, what those expressing their dislike for my choices, they are doing assault and battery in some instances, and they need to be punished and restrained.

  3. Time for fences and armed guards. No trespassing signs and armed people on the roof expressing their free speech

  4. And arrested and charged for bullying, intimidation and threatening behavior. It is past high time to hold these anti-abortionist activist accountable for their violent behavior. Free speech does not include the right to be violent towards another person, imho.

  5. So does this give the women seeking services to health care services the right to open carry? I have feeling this is not going to end well.

  6. “Don’t stop approaching until you can see the whites of their eyes!”
    Abortion opponents have now been granted their “Freedom of Spit”.

  7. The SCOTUS has a buffer zone and have the right to deny anyone from even hearing the cases. Make of that what you will

  8. Funny thing. The Supreme Court gave Themselves a Buffer zone of 95 Feet.

    Absolutely NO Protesting any closer than that.

    One Set of Laws for themselves.
    A Different set of Laws for Everyone ELSE.

    Abortion Protesting is Perfectly OK.

    If you Protest Wall Street like the OCCUPY folks, they send in the Storm Troopers to
    throw your Ass in Jail.

  9. They’ve just made it a lot easier for women to be harassed (or worse) when she enters a clinic, and they’ve made their doctors and nurses targets for the unhinged and those who can’t keep their eyes on their OWN knitting.

    Bunch of hypocrites on that Court with their OWN buffer zone. That’s okay but it’s not okay to have one where vulnerable women are trying to see a health professional?

    Of course, there are the hypocrites who brought this suit in the first place and hang about clinics with nothing better to do but harass women. Soon as that fetus is born, they don’t give one damn about it. Not to mention the fact that these idiots also protest against birth control which, needless to say, helps reduce unplanned pregnancies!

    For heaven’s sake, how many times do we have to say it: MY BODY, MY CHOICE.

  10. My thoughts exactly. But the clinics will need funding for higher fences and better security to keep their patients safety and privacy within regulations of hippa guidelines! They need private fund raisers!

  11. It’s hard to believe some of the comments here. Do you folks actually believe that a 35 foot buffer zone law would stop a violent, unbalanced individual from physically assaulting a woman entering abortion clinic? To someone that crazy, a buffer zone law means nothing.

    Be honest, what you really don’t like is the idea that such a woman might be exposed to a different point of view and perhaps actually stop and think one last time about the life she’s about to destroy.

    Shame on you all. You are the ones sounding like fanatics.

  12. Well we don’t stalk and murder people we disagree with so I can see the both sides do it argument. The stupid starts early

  13. No it wouldnt stop a violent person. Its not meant to. Its meant to allow people to get into the clinics without harassment

    It is a persons right to seek an abortion. Be honest, you dont care about the buffer zone, you are just here to give us your opinion on how easily you give up the right of choice

  14. I don’t want women harassed going into a clinic for medical care. End of story.

    YOUR point of view on abortion is irrelevant – especially outside a clinic providing medical care.

    How would you like it if someone waited outside your doctor’s office and harassed you as you entered or left? What if we take a peek at the prescriptions in your hand? Follow you to the pharmacy, follow you home…harass you constantly over the medical care YOU received and are entitled to?

    My guess is that you’d change your tune pretty quick.

    Or are you one of those “liberty for me, but not for thee” people?

  15. See the premise of your analogy Ramses is that the women who are seeking medical care, for whatever reason, are inherently stupid, uneducated and have no idea what they are doing. That is hardly the case. So you think that one last haranguing, one last insult on their intelligence along with a good berating with pictures is going to change a woman’s mind? In some cases it’s the worst day of some of these women’s lives, they’re going in for a medical procedure, because say they were raped, or they’re poor, the pregnancy isn’t viable, for whatever reason it’s none of your effing business. Protestors standing shoulder to shoulder blocking the entrance so they’re forced to find a way a way around these lunatics without actually touching them. Shame on you and your condoning this cruel and unusual punishment.

  16. SCOTUS, in their opinion, said it’s “freedom of speech” for the protesters. Hmm, did they include in their opinion that abortion is LEGAL and NOT for them to decide for ANY woman!

    As usual, “love” the fetus but starve the child.

  17. Lets rephrase some of these statements;
    “I the right to walk do walk down a public sidewalk without:

    “being approached by someone handing out Bible Tracts!”

    “being approached by someone begging for money!”

    “being approached by someone wanting me to sigh a petition requiring abortion clinic buffer zones!”

    ummm – no you don’t. If you don’t want to ever be approached by anyone, don’t walk in public.

  18. Um, if you want to walk in public and not have to listen to others, then wear earplugs.

    This was a slam dunk by the Supreme Court. A person has as much right to approach you in public with a Bible tract, as you do to approach someone in public asking them to sing a petition for your your favorite cause.

    You folks have no common sense. If someone blocks access, or commits assault, the deserve to be arrested. But saying you have a right make everyone shut up so you don’t have to “listen” when walking in a public place is just absurd.

  19. But when we are asking someone to sign a petition and they refuse we don’t spit on them, harass, put up wanted posters and murder those who disagree with us.

    The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.

    Albert Einstein

  20. Rosen: Buffer zone ruling is despicable
    Our country has gone reactionary insane.

    Those so called “counseling” parameters the Supreme Court talked about in yet another rancid decision – McCullen v. Coakley – striking down the 35-foot buffer zone for protesters at women’s clinics were put in force by the Mass legislature for a reason – so people will not KILL those providing safe treatment for women receiving reproductive care!
    Read More

  21. A health clinic is not the same as a public street. Nor is the parking lot outside a health clinic the same as a public street. People have the right not to be harassed on their way to vote; they shouldn’t be harassed on their way to the doctor either. Particularly because not all humans entering a clinic are seeking an abortion, it is ludicrous to protect the “rights” of the people who are hampering their access to services. Not to mention the fact that women seeking abortions in clinics already speak to a healthcare professional about their other options long before the actual procedure. I personally am not interested in medical advice from a stranger hanging out on the street; why does the supreme court need to protect their right to force this advice on others? If you want to educate women about their options, put down your inflammatory posters and your megaphone and go work in a clinic, a school, or a community center.

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