Thursday, June 26, 2014

Supreme Court Strikes Down Law on Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones -

Today the Supreme Court struck down as not sufficiently narrowly tailored a Massachusetts law that created a thirty five foot zone around abortion clinic entrances.  The judgement in McCullen v. Coakley was unanimous.  But Justice Antonin Scalia dissented from the majority opinion in which C.J. John Roberts joined with the liberals.  In typically sharp rhetoric Scalia objects to that part of the majority opinion that says the statute is not content-based, i.e. NOT aimed at anti-abortion protesters:
Today’s opinion carries forward this Court’s practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents. There is an entirely separate, abridged edition of the First Amendment applicable to speech against abortion. See, e.g., Hill v. Colorado, 530 U. S. 703 (2000); Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, Inc., 512 U. S. 753 (1994).
I agree with Scalia that the measure is content-based.  But I would embrace a "separate" First Amendment jurisprudence for anti-abortion protests.  Because I don't think that people have a right to intrude on the privacy of people seeking medical attention, delivering pleas to not have an abortion, etc.  Of course a woman going to such a clinic may be seeking advice, birth control pills, post-op check up, a medically necessary abortion, or an elective one. In my view it is none of the bloody business of anyone else.  I would have voted to uphold the statute. - GWC

Supreme Court Strikes Down Law on Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones -
by Adam Liptak

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a Massachusetts law that barred protests near abortion clinics.
The law, enacted in 2007, created 35-foot buffer zones around entrances to abortion clinics. State officials said the law was a response to a history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.
The law was challenged on First Amendment grounds by opponents of abortion who said they sought to have quiet conversations with women entering clinics to tell them about alternatives to abortion.
In 2000, the Supreme Court upheld a similar Colorado law in Hill v. Colorado. That law established 100-foot buffer zones outside all health care facilities, not just abortion clinics. Inside those larger zones, the law banned approaching others within eight feet for protest, education or counseling without their consent.
Massachusetts experimented with a similar law but found it inadequate.

'via Blog this'

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