Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Top News

Supreme Court rules abortion clinic buffer zone unconstitutional

See also

The Supreme Court struck down a controversial abortion clinic buffer zone as unconstitutional on Thursday. In a rare unanimous decision, they ruled that the Massachusetts law, which prohibited protests within 35 feet of an abortion clinic, was an infringement on the First Amendment.

This type of law is not uncommon in the US. In fact, there is even a federal law prohibiting the obstruction of someone entering such a facility. Additionally, several states have enacted laws, and so have many municipalities, to protect people and facilities that provide reproductive services.

Certain types of buffer zone laws are still allowable, most notably so-called “floating” buffer zones, where the person entering the clinic can not be approached too closely. Additionally, it will still be illegal to threaten employees or damage the property of such places.

The ruling, though unanimous, was arrived at for different reasons by the conservative and liberal factions on the court. Justice John Roberts agreed with the left leaning judges, citing that the law was written far too broadly to deal with a fairly narrow issue.

"For a problem shown to arise only once a week in one city at one clinic, creating 35-foot buffer zones at every clinic across the Commonwealth is hardly a narrowly tailored solution," Roberts said.

Justice Antonin Scalia had a different take. “Protecting people from speech they do not want to hear is not a function that the First Amendment allows the government to undertake in the public streets and sidewalks,” Justice Scalia said. Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas joined the concurrence.

It seems all but certain that Massachusetts will enact another law, as they still feel the need to protect public safety, as clashes with protesters have become violent in that state in the past.

Advertisement

News

  • Israel, Hamas clash in Gaza
    At least 550 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in the third week of the war
    Video
    Video
  • Pro-Russia guards
    President Obama criticizes pro-Russian rebels for blocking off the MH17 crash site
    World News
  • National Guard at Texas border
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry sending National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border
    US News
  • Unlikely Putin defender
    The unlikeliest US politician comes to the defense of Russia's president, Vladimir Putin
    Politics
  • iPhone 6 coming soon
    Apple is gearing up for the iPhone 6, orders tens of millions of units
    Tech
  • Gynecologist settlement
    Johns Hopkins agrees to $190M settlement for patients recorded by gynecologist
    Strange News