Abortion clinic buffer zone bill in the works

BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Patrick and the Attorney General announced Wednesday, plans to ensure public safety near abortion clinics.

“The Supreme Court may not have liked our buffer zone, but they did not lessen our commitment to protecting women’s access to reproductive health care in this Commonwealth,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley.

The news conference comes after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law creating no-protest buffer zones around abortion clinics, claiming it violates a protester’s freedom of speech.

“We should be free to walk around and try to persuade women to talk to us. If they don’t want to talk to us, fine,” said Eva Murphy of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life.

State leaders plan to take a legislative approach to strengthen public safety around abortion clinics. They are looking at updating the state’s dispersal law, which allows an officer to order protesters to disperse if they are restricting access to a building.

Lawmakers hope to craft a bill that would prohibit people from blocking the driveway to health clinics, an ordinance that is already in place in Springfield.

“We hope very much that working with the legislature that we will have a fix, so-called, before the session ends this summer,” said Governor Patrick.

Governor Patrick included that he is confident lawmakers will act by the July 31 legislative deadline.

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