As The Daily Banter's Michael Luciano reported earlier today, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision Thursday on a Massachusetts case involving the constitutionality of protest buffer zones around abortion clinics. Simply put, clinics and municipalities can no longer create 35-foot perimeters inside which protesters are forbidden to gather. The Court ruled that such buffer zones violate the First Amendment's free speech clause. However, the Court also decided that state and local authorities could continue to prevent protesters from harassing clinic patients.
So now, both doctors, staff and especially women who are seeking reproductive care at a clinic will have to shove their way through a hostile crowd of anti-choice activists waving signs and placards with bloody photos of aborted fetuses -- creating a wall of disgust and hatred between women and their healthcare providers.
Rewind to last Thursday.
The Supreme Court issued new rules regarding its own buffer zone. Yes, the Court has a protest-free perimeter around its building, and last week the Court expanded its buffer zone.
On Thursday, Supreme Court officials announced a revised set of rules barring demonstrations — including picketing, speeches, and other kinds of organized gatherings — from taking place on the 252-foot wide marble plaza that separates the Court Building from First Street NE, a north-south road in Washington, D.C.
Here's an illustration of the buffer zone:
I wonder how the Court would decide on its own free-speech-hating buffer zone. Now, certainly there are security concerns, but free speech is free speech, no? Considering the violence that's taken place at abortion clinics, including bombings and doctor assassinations, there are security concerns at clinics as well. These aren't union protests at Walmart. This is a contentious, highly emotional issue and some anti-choice activists don't mind taking the law or God's will into their own hands.