Justices may strike down Massachusetts abortion buffer zone law
The Supreme Court appears likely to strike down a Massachusetts law requiring a 35-foot protest-free zone outside abortion clinics, after hearing arguments Wednesday.
Both liberal and conservative justices on the high court questioned the size of the zone and whether the state could find less restrictive ways to ensure patient access and safety.
The court needs at least five votes to strike down the law, which seemed possible after Justice Elena Kagan said she was “hung up” over the size of the zone.
Nobody has been prosecuted under the 2007 law, which Massachusetts officials and clinic employees have said has resulted in less congestion outside the clinics.
The court last considered abortion clinic protest zones in 2000, when it upheld a Colorado law.
But it was hard to tell whether the court might also upend its 2000 ruling in support of the Colorado zone, which has been criticized by free speech advocates for unfairly restricting protesters’ rights. (more…)