The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that barred protests near abortion clinics.
The law, enacted in 2007, created 35-foot buffer zones around entrances to abortion clinics. State officials said the law was a response to a history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.
The law was challenged on First Amendment grounds by opponents of abortion — nytimes.com
Massachusett's 35-foot buffer zone was initially enacted as a defensive mechanism, responding to a history of harassments and violence around clinics' entrances. The law had previously barred anyone from entering a fixed buffer zone around entrances to reproductive health care facilities (excepting those simply passing through, clinic employees, or those intentionally going in and out of the building). Plaintiffs in the recent Supreme Court case effectively argued that those exceptions were biased towards supporters of abortion rights.
More on the architecture of abortion clinics.