A while back the state of Massachusetts implemented a 35-foot buffer zone outside of abortion clinics to keep women free from harassment. In McCullen v. Coakley the SCOTUS ruled the zone unconstitutional, which I actually agree with. Protest is important. Several times in my life I have protested churches, and I don’t want a buffer zone around those keeping people free from the message I’m trying to get across. However, people protesting churches tend to be more considerate and less threatening of their target audience than abortion clinic protesters. So I see the need for the protections Massachusetts was going for, and I’m happy to report that the state’s leaders are still committed to taking care of women seeking an abortion:
“The Supreme Court may not have liked our buffer zone, but they did not lessen our commitment to protecting women’s access to reproductive health care in the commonwealth,” Coakley said, according to prepared remarks.
Among their plans: rewriting state laws to strengthen police officers’ ability to disperse a crowd blocking a clinic entrance; passing a law requiring that clinic driveways be kept clear; and passing a state version of the federal FACE Act, which imposes criminal penalties for harassing or interfering with patients outside an abortion clinic.
Coakley and Patrick emphasized their intention to put new laws on the books by the end of the month, when the Legislature is slated to adjourn. Aides say they’ve already gotten commitments from lawmakers to move quickly.