Massachusetts Pro-Lifers: Overturn Abortion Bubble Zone Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 26, 2011   |   6:31PM   |   Washington, DC

Pro-life advocates in Massachusetts want a court to overturn the bubble zone law that prevents them from helping provide abortion alternatives information to women outside abortion facilities there.

State law mandated 6 foot buffer zones around those entering the abortion facility in an 18 foot radius around the abortion business. They prohibit anyone distributing handouts from giving the information to people entering the abortion center without their consent. Then, in 2007, that law was expanded to a 35-foot buffer zone between abortion centers and pro-life people.

Massachusetts Citizens for Life took the current law to court and the U.S. Supreme Court in April 2005 declined to hear a case on it.

Now, a new lawsuit has a group of pro-life advocates asking a federal judge to strike down the law that is around Planned Parenthood Breton facilities in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield saying that it infringes on their free speech rights.

Michael J. DePrimo, a civil rights attorney based in Connecticut who represents several of the pro-life advocates, told the Boston Globe, “There needs to be a means of true communication.”

But Kenneth W. Salinger, an assistant state attorney general, argued that the buffer zone still allowed free speech but was supposedly necessary to protect patients and staff at the abortion center. “They can, and do, share their messages outside the buffer zones,” he said.

The judge told both attorneys, according to the Globe, that he would review additional paperwork from them and then review the law.

“A lot of people just have no interest in the message people are offering,’’ Salinger said. “They don’t need to pay attention to [the protesters’] message if they don’t want to.”