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Some good news: Supreme Court strikes down “buffer zone” law June 26, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, catachesis, contraception, General Catholic, paganism, persecution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society, Spiritual Warfare.

A few years back, the legislators in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts – always eager to advance the cause of their most sacred shibboleth, abortion – passed a law declaring it illegal to speak to or “harass” women on public sidewalks within 35 feet of abortion mills statewide. This had the effect of dramatically limit the ability of sidewalk counselors to save lives and talk women out of a disastrous act.  It also had a chilling effect on “free speech,” declaring certain public areas closed to Catholics and others concerned about the ongoing destruction of life.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court yesterday peered into their magic 8 ball and overturned this law in a unanimous decision:

 The Supreme Court has unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law establishing a buffer zone around abortion facilities.

The justices’ 9-0 ruling in McCullen v. Coakley reverses the First Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the law, which barred sidewalk counselors from setting foot within 35 feet of abortion facilities statewide.

The 34-page ruling, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, said the statute went too far by forbidding pro-life advocates from engaging in free speech on “a public way or sidewalk adjacent to a reproductive health care facility.”

The buffer zone law represents an “extreme step of closing a substantial portion of a traditional public forum to all speakers,” the justices ruled. “The Commonwealth may not do that consistent with the First Amendment.”

“While we wish the decision had recognized the content-restrictions inherent in this type of law, this decision is truly a victory for courageous, compassionate sidewalk counselors in Massachusetts who have saved hundreds of lives through their quiet outreach offering help and alternatives to women,” Dana Cody, president and executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, told LifeSiteNews.com.

“In a brazen affront to the First Amendment, Massachusetts government officials had sought to use the threat of arrest and criminal conviction to silence those offering women life-affirming alternatives to abortion,” said Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life. “The Supreme Court rightly rejected this unlawful attempt to deny pro-life Americans their First Amendment rights.”

However in a flashpoint with three conservative justices, a majority of the justices endorsed the right of states to create buffer zones around abortion facilities as long as they are more narrowly tailored, especially if the state establishes a legal history of intimidation.

“The act is neither content nor viewpoint based and therefore need not be analyzed under strict scrutiny,” they ruled, provoking a stern response from Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas.

Pro-life forces had said the law censored their speech by allowing abortion escorts to speak freely to women but silencing anyone who would try to tell the woman of abortion’s potential harms.

“The government cannot reserve its public sidewalks for Planned Parenthood, as if their message is the only one women should be allowed to hear,” said Mark Rienzi, the sidewalk counselors’ attorney. “Today’s decision confirms that the First Amendment is for everyone, and that the government cannot silence peaceful speakers. That result is good news for Eleanor McCullen, and it is great news for the women she helps.”

Justice Roberts rejected the notion that buffer zone laws target only one side of the argument, saying they “burden substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth’s asserted interests” in protecting women seeking an abortion from allegedly aggressive pro-life protesters.

The bill was introduced in 2007 by Massachusetts House of Representatives. Member Martha “Marty” Walz, who is now the president of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. She claimed in a USA Today op-ed that the law is necessary to protect abortion workers from “violent, extremist anti-abortion protesters led by Operation Rescue.”

Oh please, in the last 10 years, there has been far more violence directed at pro-lifers than at abortionists, their staff, or the women seeking abortions.  That is an utter crock.

What it means is that sidewalk counselors and co-located crisis pregnancy centers are extremely effective at turning women away from involvement in a hideous act, and thus pose a great threat to the abortion industry and its fevered supporters.  Can you imagine a similar law forbidding pro-aborts from protesting or doing their silly thing (for their poorly attended marches are profoundly silly and unserious) anywhere, at any time?  There would be no end to the cries of persecution and cruelty.

As the article above notes, the ruling did leave open the possibility that Taxachusetts and other states could impose similar laws provided they are more narrowly defined in future.  So it wasn’t an enormous victory.  Then again, most states are turning decidedly pro-life (probably not MASS, CA, NY, and the other left wing havens, though), so hopefully there will not be such impetus for this kind of law again.  But who knows.  The devil never sleeps.

And he never runs out of willing agents of cooperation.  Pray God turn women’s (and men’s) hearts away from this wanton barbarism.  Sustain and restore Your Church, the only reliably pro-life voice in the culture.  And send your angels to fight the demons away from these slaughterhouses!


1. Don - June 27, 2014

Monday, last day of the term for SCOTUS, should have the ‘Hobby Lobby’ decision handed down.

2. Brian E. Breslin - June 27, 2014

Just watched Ms Walz on Rachel Maddow’s show stating that she wrote the law because of how violent the screaming pro-lifers were. Your reaction, Tantum, is spot on. In our state of Maine, our legislature is joined to the hip of the one in Massachusetts. You would think we never broke away in 1820.

3. discipleofthedumbox - June 27, 2014

So, on the one hand ‘Yay’. and ‘Wahoo’. On the other, this is another instance of federal over reach. If the people of Massachusetts want to restrict free speech within their own borders, that is their own business and not the federal government’s. It becomes their business when the federal government desires to infringe upon the rights of the citizens of the states in the Union and their right to free speech against their own government. This is another case of the ‘incorporation doctrine’ of the never fully ratified 14th amendment and a perpetuation of the idea that we are one nation, under God, indivisible, blah, blah, blah. Forgive me if I have a hard time feeling all giddy about this. The abuse of the federal institutions against the states and the rights of the citizens therein continues unabated, it seems and with with great support from even pro-lifers who should know better than to trust a Supreme Court which ruled in favor of the de-criminalization of abortion in the first place.

4. Don - June 27, 2014

Interesting article from ‘The Remnant’, nothing to do with the above, but worthwhile.


5. Lynne - June 27, 2014

New Hampshire, which is becoming more and more like Massachusetts, i.e. liberal, recently passed a similar law… Hah! Bye bye.

discipleofthedumbox - June 27, 2014

Yeah, cuz they too must obey their federal overlords. (sigh)

6. CMAQX - June 27, 2014

You misspelled “People’s Democratic Republic of Massachusetts”

Tantumblogo - June 27, 2014


7. Today’s radical feminism demonstrates the profound derangement of our culture | A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - June 30, 2014

[…] on her liberty (all the while attending Georgetown Law at 30-40k a year) had some comments on the recent Supreme Court decision vacating a Massachusetts law that forbade sidewalk counseling outside abortion mills (comments in […]

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