First Amendment Victory: SCOTUS Voids 35-Foot Abortion Clinic Buffer
On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 35-foot protest-free zone outside abortion clinics in Massachusetts, ruling that extending such a buffer zone violates the First Amendment rights of protesters.
According to the Associated Press, Chief Justice John Roberts said authorities have less intrusive ways to manage problems outside the clinics.
The case involved Massachusetts grandmother Eleanor McCullen and other pro-life advocates who sued over the limits on their activities at Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in Boston, Springfield, and Worcester. The abortion opponents said that, in two locations, they had little chance of reaching patients arriving by car because they are required to remain 35 feet from the entrance to those buildings’ parking areas.
Planned Parenthood said the buffer zone has significantly reduced what they deem harassment of patients and clinic staff.