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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-27-00

MA Supreme Court Rules Buffer Zones Constitutional

The Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that a 25-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics would not be a violation of First Amendment free speech rights.

The state Senate is considering a bill that would bar individuals from a 25-foot zone around building entrances and driveways unless they had business in the building or were public officials. The Senate submitted the question to the Supreme Judicial Court for legal advice back in November. The SJC concluded that "the interests stated in this bill are substantial government interests."

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday in Hill v. Colorado on whether the 1993 Colorado law that establishes a protective 8-foot bubble around persons entering abortion clinics to protect patients and clinic workers from harassment or violates demonstrators' right to free speech. The Colorado law prohibits demonstrators within a 100 ft. of a health-care facility entrance from getting closer than 8 feet to individuals without their consent. Anyone who violates the law faces up to six months in jail and $750 fine.

Media Resources: Associated Press and Feminist Majority Foundation - January 26, 2000


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