Friday, June 27, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Struck Down "Buffer Zone" Law

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously struck down a "buffer zone" law in Massachusetts which restricted where the pro-life advocates could counsel women outside of abortion mills.  The Court ruled that the Massachusetts law violates the First Amendment. 

From Zenit:

The briefs demonstrated that the Massachusetts law violated the First Amendment rights of 40 Days for Life by establishing a 35-foot “no-pro-life” speech zone outside abortion facilities where no alternatives to abortion could be offered. AUL attorneys argued that the unconstitutional law impermissibly forced pro-life speakers to either “shout or be silent” and effectively prohibited speech by those who engage in personal, direct, and peaceful counseling with women considering abortion. 
Importantly, the 2007 law discriminated against peaceful pro-life activists by prohibiting them from “enter[ing] or remain[ing] on a public way or sidewalk adjacent” to a stand-alone abortion facility. But this did not apply equally to everyone. Abortion clinic employees or agents acting within their scope of employment were free to enter the “zone” and speak with women including encouraging them to have abortions. 
This discriminatory “no-enter zone” only targeted those opposed to abortion and permitted police to arrest and charge any person engaged in pro-life advocacy. Prohibited conduct under the law included speaking, praying, wearing t-shirts, hats, or buttons, displaying signs, leafleting, and making consented approaches with women or others entering the abortion clinic.
The law effectively sought to prohibit all methods of communicating a pro-life message on public sidewalks—a venue which the Supreme Court has called “a prototypical public forum” where the First Amendment is “at its most protected.”

Thank you Supreme Court for upholding pro-lifers right to free speech.


Jersey McJones said...

Yeesh. Well, now people can walk up to other people (complete strangers) and insult, infuriate, and just generally offend those other people, people going through an extremely personal and rather serious medical procedure. What a great decision. America just became an even courser place. I can't stand pro-life protesters.


Constitutional Insurgent said...

I agree with the court that the law as written - did not stand up to Constitutional muster. But I wonder if the selective defenders of free speech would feel the same if they were accosted by protestors on the sidewalks outside of their church or of gun stores....

Teresa said...

The pro-lifers do not accost the people going into the abortion clinic. They talk to them about other options other than ending another human beings life. Plus, the sidewalk counselors inform the women about the negative effects that happen after having an abortion.

The pro-lifers pray for the women. Jersey, I guess you would believe that people trying to save innocent babies lives from death makes "America an even courser place."

I consider the murdering of innocent babies makes America a barbaric, and nihilistic place.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

"The pro-lifers do not accost the people going into the abortion clinic."

This if course, being the opinion of the pro-lifers. Probably not decidedly agreed with by the pro-choicers.