Just to be clear, the Supreme Court has a very active ban against demonstrators on its own grounds. pic.twitter.com/kwbeKmjaUy
— Aura Bogado (@aurabogado) June 26, 2014
Via NYMag, which reports:
The Supreme Court today unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that required a 35-foot buffer zone around the entrance to abortion clinics in hopes of preventing violence and harassment. “The buffer zones burden substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth’s asserted interests,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the decision, concluding that the law violates the First Amendment. “Petitioners wish to converse with their fellow citizens about an important subject on the public streets and sidewalks — sites that have hosted discussions about the issues of the day throughout history.”
While the Court ruled that the state had not adequately attempted less intrusive methods, the National Organization for Women called out the ruling’s “cavalier disregard for the physical safety — the lives, even — of women seeking abortion care and the health care providers who serve them.” (A shooting at a clinic outside of Boston killed two people in 1994.)…
The Massachusetts law was explicitly passed in reaction to a diagnosed schizophrenic shooting up a Brookline clinic and murdering a receptionist. He escaped, travelled to Virginia (probably at the behest of anti-abortion terrorist Donald Spitz), and murdered a second receptionist at another clinic. As when Scott Roeder murdered Dr. Tiller, the soft-spoken monsters aiding and abetting the dangerous nutters walked away with a smile on their lips and a crocodile tear in their eyes.
Ellen McCullen — “a “sidewalk counselor” who approaches those walking into abortion clinics with a “caring demeanor, a calm voice and direct eye contact” and politely asks, “Good morning, may I give you my literature?” — is a walking, talking prop for the real terrorists, who have just been given more opportunity to “unintentionally” gin up the next “activist” looking to punish random women for the voices in his head… and on the websites insisting it’s not really murder if God tells you to go shoot some baby-killing sluts.
ETA: Via LGM, Sarah Posner at Religious Dispatches, “Your Uterus Is “An Important Subject” About Which Your Fellow Citizens “Wish To Converse” “:
… The Rev. Harry Knox, president of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, called the sidewalk counseling protected in McCullen “spiritual harassment,” adding, “We’re outraged that the Court has allowed strangers to intercede in the personal health decisions of women and families when they have not been invited – and indeed are not welcome.”
As devotee of the First Amendment, I have conflicting feelings about restrictions on speech. Steven R. Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union noted such conflicts in a statement: “We agree that a fixed buffer zone imposes serious First Amendment costs, but we also think the Court underestimated the proven difficulty of protecting the constitutional rights of women seeking abortions by enforcing other laws – especially regarding harassment – outside abortion clinics.”
Today’s decision is limited to the 2007 Massachusetts law, and may not invalidate every buffer zone law currently on the books or that could be enacted in the future. The ruling leaves in place a 2000 decision upholding a Colorado law that imposed a 100 foot buffer zone outside all health care facilities, barring people from coming within eight feet of visitors to counsel them without their consent…
As Physicians for Reproductive Board Chair Nancy Stanwood said, “We respect the right of those who disagree with us to voice their opposition; however, we believe that the same respect should be afforded to the right to access health care services free from harassment and violence.”