Ruling that a thirty-five foot buffer zone violates the First Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 2007 Massachusetts law that established a buffer zone around abortion clinics. Pro-life sidewalk counselors challenged the law, arguing that it infringed upon their ability to get their message of life and hope to expectant mothers considering abortion in Massachusetts.
The Court ruled that the thirty-five foot buffer zones in question were not a legitimate way for the State to ensure public safety and access to public walkways. The Court did not outlaw buffer zones altogether, but stated that the thirty-five foot Massachusetts buffer zones “burden substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth’s asserted interests.”
Posted: June 27, 2014