In a unanimous decision last month, the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts buffer zone law prohibiting pro-life free speech outside abortion clinics. The decision was a huge victory for pro-life sidewalk counselors who provide women with abortion alternatives.
In their ruling, the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that created a 35-foot “buffer zone” restricting pro-life advocates from speaking with people entering abortion facilities.
Saying the abortion buffer zone is “inconsistent with the First Amendment,” the Supreme Court ruled that that the buffer zone violated the First Amendment because it “restricts access to ‘public way[s]’ and ‘sidewalk[s],’ places that have traditionally been open for speech activities.”
Now, Massachusetts lawmakers have responded with a vengeance — passing a radical bill that prohibits free speech for pro-lifers seeking to help women.
After the state Senate approved the bill, the state House today followed suit by passing the measure on a 108-37 vote. Governor Deval Patrick, who supports abortion, has been pushing hard for the bill and will sign it into law.
Anne Fox of Massachusetts Citizens for Life told LifeNews that abortion activists told legislators false tales of pro-lifers harassing women.
“Planned Parenthood employs a huge number of people in the state who all drone on about their abuse by pro-lifers. No legislator picked up on the pro-lifers’ demands for pictures or videos of the alleged incidents,” she said.
Fox said pro-abortion lawmakers will rush the bill through the legislature.
“As fast as they can get it through the House and signed, Massachusetts will have a law which is worse than the old Buffer Zone. It effectively creates a 25-foot zone and the penalties are scary – $50,000 and three years in jail,” she said. “The legislature is in the process of disrespecting the Supreme Court and penalizing law-abiding citizens. I do think all the other places that have suspended their Buffer Zones will pass laws like this one. At least Massachusetts will have company in its foolishness.”
During the hearing, when the pro-lifers had a chance to speak, Eleanor McCullen, an elderly woman who has spent years helping women find abortion alternatives, and other pro-life advocates explained that it would be counterproductive to their efforts to save babies from abortion and help women to treat pregnant women badly.
“Phil Moran, the local lawyer for the McCullen win, compared the new zone to the penalty box where the counselors would always be,” Fox told LifeNews about the hearing. “State Representatives Jim Lyons and Marc Lombardo spoke. Jim pointed out that these same people say “The Supreme court has spoken” about Roe v Wade. Now they have no use for the Court. Marc stated that this proposed law is so outrageous that it will definitely be appealed and cited the costs in time and money that will be associated with the appeal – the McCullen case has already cost many millions.”
Pat Stewart, MCFL Executive Director, gave impressive testimony citing 20 actual laws that already cover blockading, harassing, etc.