In the upcoming political & moral battle for anti-abortion protesters, U.S. Supreme court justices will decide on whether to reverse the 2007 anti-protest buffer law in Massachusetts.
The law was put into effect for the safety of women who were receiving abortions. Problems stemmed from anti-abortion protesters who would block the entrance of abortion clinics & sometimes would lead to physical confrontation. Some supporters of the first amendment believes this is taken their freedom of speech away. According to ABC news, the case has prompted friend-of-the-court briefs from both side of the issue. One is filed by lawyer Carrie Severino on behalf of 12 women who are opposed to the Massachusetts law. Severino writes, “These buffer zone laws make off-limits to these speakers the only plot of land on earth where their message has any plausible likelihood of achieving its desired effect.”
What’s at stake, according to Severino, is whether the First Amendment protects “merely the right to cheer for one’s own team” or whether it protects “the right to a fair opportunity for persuasion through the free exchange of ideas.” The composition of the Court has changed since the Hill v. Colorado ruling, In 2000, the Supreme Court Justices upheld a Colorado statute that allowed an 8-foot buffer zone in a case called Hill v. Colorado. Several First Amendment scholars and those who support abortion rights say that decision was wrong. Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia & Clarence Thomas, who were dissenters in 2000, could be in the majority for this case in Mass. A supporter of the buffer zone law is Planned Parenthood, which was founded by Margaret Sanger and its advocates have been adamant about pushing this law. Planned Parenthood has been accused of targeting the African American community with proactive abortion campaigns in predominately Black and brown neighborhoods. According to Rep.Charles Van Zant, R-Keystone
Heights, one of Planned Parenthood biggest oppositions, states ‘African American community decreased by 25% due to abortions’.