Friday, July 10, 2009

Massachusetts Bans Pro-life Sidewalk Counseling

Federal appeals court ruled the ban necessary to stop "unduly aggressive behaviors in the vicinity of reproductive healthcare facilities" -- Pro-lifers say law . . . had a "content-neutral patina" that masked a "more sinister reality," that the Legislature’s true motive was to curb antiabortion speech.

-- From "Abortion clinic buffer law upheld" by Martin Finucane, Boston Globe Staff 7/10/09

A Massachusetts law that bans protesters from a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinic entrances has been upheld by [the First US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.]

The law, the court said, "represents a permissible response by the Massachusetts Legislature to what it reasonably perceived as a significant threat to public safety."

But Tim Chandler - legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which helped represent the plaintiffs - said antiabortion advocates "shouldn’t be penalized for expressing their beliefs."

"The government cannot single them out for punishment simply because they want to share their message with people entering the clinic," Chandler said in a statement. "The government simply cannot create censorship zones where the First Amendment does not apply in order to silence a particular viewpoint." He said the fund and its allies were evaluating the "next legal step."

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.