Mixed reaction to “buffer zone” decision


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The U.S. Supreme Court shot down a Massachusetts law that required protestors outside abortion clinics to stay behind a 35-foot buffer zone, but not everyone is celebrating the decision.

“We were incredibly distressed by the fact the Supreme Court overturned that law because that law for us really is a public safety law,” said Springfield Planned Parenthood’s Deb Fenton.

Springfield Planned Parenthood’s Deb Fenton says protesters can be aggressive at times, and the buffer zone was a way to protect patients.

Now, the white lines outside of abortion clinics don’t mean anything. Protestors now have free range to go right up to cars as they’re pulling in the parking lot.

Protestors argued the buffer zone violates their first amendment rights and the Supreme Court unanimously agreed although Springfield’s Deborah Lieberman hopes they don’t in turn, violate patients rights.

“I think if a woman is going to an abortion clinic that’s their personal right and hopefully they’re going for all the right reasons but they certainly shouldn’t be attacked,” said Deborah Lieberman.

It is illegal to prevent someone from entering or leaving health clinics and some feel it’s an invasion of privacy when protestors stand so close.

“For some patients that’s very personal and it’s hard,” said Springfield’s Yvonne Charvis.

Attorney General Martha Coakley argued to keep the buffer zone because it ensures women have access to healthcare.

Fenton said they’ll do whatever they need to ensure all patients are protected.

Some Massachusetts lawmakers now want to craft new rules that will protect patients without violating anyone’s rights.

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