Mass. Abortion Clinic 'Buffer Zone' Law Upheld By Federal Appeals Court

In Massachusetts, a federal appeals court has upheld a 2007 state law that makes it a crime to loiter within 35 feet of an abortion clinic, despite First Amendment challenges from anti-abortion advocates.

The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog: Appeals Court Rejects Challenge To Abortion Clinic 'Buffer Zone'
A federal appeals court upheld a Massachusetts law that creates a buffer zone around abortion clinics, rejecting an interesting First Amendment challenge that took inspiration from the Supreme Court's 2010 campaign-finance ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Wednesday's ruling marked the second time in recent years the Boston-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit backed the 2007 law, which makes it a crime to linger within a 35-foot radius around the entrances, exits and driveways of abortion clinics (Palazzolo, 1/9).

The Associated Press: Court Upholds Mass. Abortion Clinic Buffer Law
A federal appeals court has again upheld the buffer zone law for Massachusetts abortion clinics, saying that the regulation protects the rights of patients while, at the same time, allowing others to express their opinions. "Few subjects have proven more controversial in modern times than the issue of abortion," the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said in its ruling on Wednesday. "The nation is sharply divided about the morality of the practice and its place in a caring society. But the right of the state to take reasonable steps to ensure the safe passage of persons wishing to enter health care facilities cannot seriously be questioned" (Finucane, 1/9).

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