By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court handed a victory to anti-abortion activists on Thursday by making it harder for states to enact laws aimed at helping patients entering abortion clinics to avoid protesters, striking down a Massachusetts statute that had created a no-entry zone. On a 9-0 vote, the court said the 2007 law violated freedom of speech rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment by preventing anti-abortion activists from standing on the sidewalk and speaking to people entering the clinics. The law allowed only patients, staff, passersby and emergency services to enter the 35-foot (11-metre) zone. The ruling casts into doubt similar fixed buffer zones adopted by several municipalities around the country, including San Francisco and Pittsburgh. The court did not specify under what circumstances other types of restrictions aimed at keeping public order outside clinics would be deemed lawful. The court sent a signal that some laws might be acceptable by declining to overturn its ruling in a 2000 case that upheld a less restrictive law in Colorado. That law prevents people outside clinics from approaching within 8 feet (2-1/2 meters) of another person without their consent. Montana has a similar law. The Massachusetts law was enacted in part because of safety concerns highlighted by violent acts committed against abortion providers in the past. In 1994, two abortion clinic workers were killed outside a clinic in Brookline, Massachusetts. The protesters say their main aim is to counsel women to try to deter them from having abortions. Although the court did not say buffer zones are always unconstitutional, the decision could make it more difficult for states to pass similar laws in future, said Marcia Greenberger, president of the National Women's Law Center. Thursday's decision could give Massachusetts a chance to fashion a new state law. Eleanor McCullen, the abortion protester who was the lead plaintiff in the case, welcomed the decision saying it allows her to "offer loving help to a woman who wants it" without facing the threat of jail. Abortion remains a divisive issue in America. The Supreme Court in its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalized abortion. In recent years, some Republican-governed states have sought to impose new restrictions on abortion. Boston will boost police presence around abortion clinics on Friday morning before assessing next steps, said Kate Norton, spokeswoman for Mayor Martin Walsh. "There is always concern when a measure that has been put in place for public safety is removed," she said. The case specifically concerned people who wanted to protest outside three Planned Parenthood facilities that offer abortions in addition to other health services for women in Boston, Springfield and Worcester. Planned Parenthood said it plans steps to ensure public safety at the clinics. Marty Walz, executive director of Planned Parenthood in Massachusetts, said the group will train new "escorts" to get patients through picket lines at clinics. "We have people calling and emailing and volunteering to be escorts for our patients to make sure that they can come in to our health centers safely," she said at a news conference in Boston. LEGISLATIVE TOOLS Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a statement that "with today’s decision, our work begins again. We are not going to give up our fight to make sure women have safe access to reproductive health care" and use "all of the tools we have available to protect everyone from harassment, threats, and physical obstruction." Coakley said her office would work with the governor, legislature and advocates on "legislative tools that also meet the court’s requirements." In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said no other state has a fixed buffer zone law like Massachusetts. The law was unconstitutional because it was not narrowly tailored in a way that took into account the free speech rights of protesters, he wrote. The state has "too readily foregone options that could serve its interests just as well, without substantially burdening the kind of speech in which petitioners wish to engage," Roberts wrote. The fixed nature of the buffer meant that protesters would have difficulty approaching women entering the facility who they wish to engage in conversation, Roberts said. McCullen is often forced to raise her voice in order to be heard, Roberts noted, which is "a mode of communication sharply at odds with the compassionate message she wishes to convey." Although unanimous on the outcome, some of the justices differed on their legal reasoning. Three of the conservative justices said they would have overruled the 2000 precedent, an outcome that would have cast other buffer zones into doubt. "Protecting people from speech they do not want to hear is not a function that the First Amendment allows the government to undertake in the public streets and sidewalks," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a concurring opinion. In a January 2013 ruling, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld the Massachusetts law, prompting the challengers to seek Supreme Court review. The case is McCullen v. Coakley, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-1168. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Richard Valdmanis in Boston; Editing by Howard Goller, Will Dunham and Grant McCool)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
"It's comfortable, it's beautiful, and it's designed for women who are D+ and above without compromising the way it looks," McPhee tells PEOPLE of her partnership with the intimates company
- Business Insider
Trump skipped anesthesia for a previously unreported surgery at Walter Reed to avoid giving Pence temporary power, according to new book
Trump refused to go under and kept the true nature of the visit a secret to avoid being "the butt of a joke" on late-night TV,
Kristi Noem tried not to directly address the issue.
Greg Zipadelli is on the entry list as the crew chief of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford for Sunday’s YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET, NBC, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Zipadelli will fill in for Rodney Childers, who is serving a one-race suspension for the No. 4 car having […]
- Washington Examiner
A vaccinated Michigan couple died less than a minute apart Monday from a breakthrough case of COVID-19. The two were holding hands when they died.
Will Smith reveals that he and Jada Pinkett Smith decided at one point in their marriage that they would no longer be monogamous: 'Marriage for us can't be a prison'
Will Smith "delicately explained" in a new GQ interview that Jada Pinkett Smith wasn't "the only one engaging in other sexual relationships."
Major League Baseball two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani reached another milestone this year by matching a statistic only the greatest living baseball player has ever accomplished. One of the GOATs: Ohtani joined Hall of Famer Willie Mays in an exclusive club after scoring back-to-back triples on Saturday to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 14-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners, reported NBC Sports. According to MLB, a triple is achieved when “a batter hits the ball into play and reaches third base without the help of an intervening error or attempt to put out another baserunner.”
- The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos Getty ImagesAs the morgues and ICUs in Idaho overflow with COVID patients, Republican Governor Brad Little said he would fine businesses with over 100 employees if they enacted a mask mandate.It’s an insane stance rooted in his desire not to give his challenger, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, any cause to attack him as she guns for his job.Dying people be damned, as Republicans turn against each other in contests up and down the ballot and across the coun
- Yahoo Life
Stephen Amell claps back at body shamers after sharing shirtless photo: 'I’m in tremendous shape and I’m strong as s***'
The "Arrow" star's body confidence cannot be crushed.
Here's where Jamie Lynn stands in Britney's legal battle with their father.
- USA TODAY Sports - Golfweek
Check out what some European writers had to say about the weekend at Whistling Straits.
Dua brought the vibe into 2021 with a visible thong/bra combo that gave—well, everything I needed it to give on this Monday.
- Good Housekeeping
'Jeopardy!' legend James Holzhauer tweeted a message about current 'Jeopardy!' champion Matt Amodio and fans of the beloved ABC game show had mixed feelings about the exchange.
Chuba Hubbard is the top waiver wire target in fantasy football this week, but if you can't snag him, there are plenty of other solid options.
- Men's Health
In a new Instagram post, NFL Hall of Famer and Fox Sports analyst Troy Aikman opened up about the workout and diet routine that helps him stay ripped at 54.
- NBC Sports BayArea
Rumors swirled about their relationship throughout the week, and their brief postgame meeting at midfield didn't help matters.
The North Port Police Department responded to a 911 call from Laundrie's family on Saturday reporting that the reality TV star was on their property.
"With full hearts, Laura and I are delighted to announce the birth of our new granddaughter," George and Laura Bush said in a statement shared with PEOPLE
- NBC Sports
Supplemental discipline from preseason action.
- Business Insider
Trump exploded at Melania over her infamous 'I really don't care, do u?' jacket, former top aide says in book
"What the hell were you thinking?" Trump said to Melania and her then-aide Stephanie Grisham after they returned from the Texas-Mexico border.