The unanimous vote says zones infringe on protesters' First Amendment rights. Since when do those cover intimidation and harassment?
This article was made possible because of the generous support of DAME members. We urgently need your help to keep publishing. Will you contribute just $5 a month to support our journalism?
The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the Massachusetts law instituting a 35-foot-buffer zone around abortion clinics violates the First Amendment. The Massachusetts buffer zone was enacted because of past violence at the state’s 11 reproductive health clinics. In 1994, a gunman went on a shooting rampage at two Planned Parenthoods in Brookline, Massachusetts, wounding five and killing two.
So, why strike it down now? Why strike down a law protecting women when the War on Women is just heating up? (I can hear Scott Walker cracking his knuckles on the corner.) Because, well, it’s just un-American, it’s not what we do on Main Street. “Petitioners wish to converse with their fellow citizens about an important subject on the public streets and sidewalks—sites that have hosted discussions about the issues of the day throughout history,” Chief Justice John Roberts writes. “While the state has an interest in public safety,” it “pursued those interests by the extreme step of closing a substantial portion of a traditional public forum to all speakers.”
Well, gee, I feel sort of ashamed of myself now. It’s tradition. It’s not harassment. No one is going to try and garrote anyone with a rosary. It’s just like the after-worship coffee hour at church. These anti-choice activists just want to converse with the folks who are going into the Planned Parenthoods and abortion clinics—just wanna chat, share some pecan pie, along with the love of Jesus Christ and the promise that should you choose to have an abortion you will suffer, oh how you will suffer, demons will plague you, tear your clothing and terrorize you to the end of your days.
I guess the concern is that if protesters aren’t able to scream, Burn in hell baby killer! right up in your face, if they aren’t close enough so that you can see the foam dripping from their jaws, take in the full fury of their spittle, smell the reeking brimstone on their breath, as they hiss God hates you! and force a baby doll nailed to a bloody crucifix up in your grill they aren’t getting their message across.
It’s important that these lady-hating protesters can exercise their right to inflict maximum trauma on these vulnerable women as well as their partners, their parents, their friends as they try to make their way into a reproductive health center. These Fetuses First Women Last! protesters must be in close enough proximity to shove grisly photos of aborted fetuses in the faces of those entering the clinic, close enough to grab a woman by the arm and pull her aside (just to converse!): FYI—if you go through with this you will be sterile. LOL! Or in their misogynistic zeal tackle her to the sidewalk (just to converse!).
Listen why do we even need buffer zones if all anti-choice protesters want to do is converse? Because that’s simply not true. They don’t want to converse, they want to stop women from exercising their right to a safe, legal abortion, by any means necessary. And they don’t have a right to.
Before you go, we hope you’ll consider supporting DAME’s journalism.
Today, just tiny number of corporations and billionaire owners are in control the news we watch and read. That influence shapes our culture and our understanding of the world. But at DAME, we serve as a counterbalance by doing things differently. We’re reader funded, which means our only agenda is to serve our readers. No both sides, no false equivalencies, no billionaire interests. Just our mission to publish the information and reporting that help you navigate the most complex issues we face.
But to keep publishing, stay independent and paywall free for all, we urgently need more support. During our Spring Membership drive, we hope you’ll join the community helping to build a more equitable media landscape with a monthly membership of just $5.00 per month or one-time gift in any amount.