Court Strikes Down Massachusetts Buffer Zone Law Today; Responses Come Quickly

Nicole Clegg, of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Today

Nicole Clegg, of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Today

US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D)

US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D)


By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,138)

The Supreme Court unanimously struck down the  Massachusetts Buffer Zone Law today.  The decision said that the Massachusetts law went too far when it erected a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics to keep demonstrators from harassing  patients.

“We need to conduct a review of the Supreme Court’s ruling to examine how it will apply o our buffer zone ordinance hee in Portland.  In regard to our pending legal case, we will want to hear from the court to see what the next steps are,” said Jessica Grondin, the City’s spokesperson.

“The U.S. Supreme Court Justices’ decision today to strike down the buffer zone law shows a disregard for the safety of patients and staff entering reproductive health centers and we are disappointed by their decision to strike down the Massachusetts law.

We believe the buffer zone ordinance in Portland fairly balances the 1st Amendment rights of individuals with the rights of our patients to access health care free of harassment and intimidation.  We still experience regular protestors at our health center and they are still able to get their message out.  what is different since the buffer zone has een enacted is that we no longer see the sort of harassment and intimidation we saw previously.  The atmosphere outside of our health center is one of peaceful coexistence – which balances the right to privacy with free speech rights,” according to a press release issued today by Nicole Clegg, Vice President of Public Policy, Maine, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

“Ultimately, decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy,or raise a child must be left to a woman with the counsel of her family, her faith, her doctor of health care provider and anyone else whose advice she seeks in making the best decision for her health and well-being.  No one should be forced to endure intimidation or harassment from strangers on the way to a doctor’s visit,” the press release concluded.

US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D) said:  “I’m extremely disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down reasonable steps to protect patient safety at abortion. Protestors have the right to say what they want, but this decision allows them to literally block women’s access to their health care providers.  Free speech is one thing –  verbal harassment and physical intimidation is another.  A woman shouldn’t have to run the gauntlet to see her doctor.”