Silencing pro-lifers in Massachusetts

Silencing pro-lifers in Massachusetts

Free speech and the effort to save unborn children is about to take another hit in Massachusetts. The state Legislature is poised to pass a law doubling the size of abortion clinic “buffer zones”; Gov. Deval Patrick promises to sign it of course; and Attorney General Martha Coakley vows to defend it against constitutional challenges.

Some 75 House members and 23 senators, more than half the Senate chamber, are cosponsoring a bill that would expand the zone from 18 to 35 feet and prohibit demonstrators within that area. Under the current law, enacted in 2000, protesters can enter the 18-foot zone but must remain at least 6 feet away from patients and staff.

Appearing at a hearing yesterday before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, Coakley and a Boston police official said the current law is unenforceable and has not yielded a single successful prosecution.

“It hasn’t been a real buffer zone,” said Captain William Evans, who was assigned for nine years to Allston-Brighton, where Planned Parenthood’s Boston clinic is located. “The law hasn’t stopped protesters from going inside the zone. All they have to do is freeze. They can’t get into people’s faces, but the patients have to go around them to get in.

Love that thinking. The current law doesn’t work because they haven’t been able to convict any pro-lifers. The obvious intent of the law is not to protect clinic workers or the public entering them. If it were, then they would declare the law a success since there has been no clinic violence. (Of course, without a buffer zone there wouldn’t be any either, but then the other side will bring up the lone case of mentally ill Catholic-hater who shot up a clinic more than a decade ago and then “committed suicide” while in the hands of the corrections system.)

Even the ACLU thinks this is a bad law.

“We’re strong supporters of reproductive freedom,” said Christopher Ott, spokesman for ACLU of Massachusetts, “but we’re also strong supporters of freedom of expression.

“This bill is overly broad, because it would ban even silent protest, as well as efforts to respectfully distribute infor mation on either side of the issue. We need to find a better way to balance the right of access to reproductive health and the right to freedom of expression.”

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
4 comments
  • Did I just hear the ACLU stand up for ALL Civil Liberties?

    Perhaps they, too, fear the coming fascist regime.  Big intrusive government starts out by removing civil liberties from one side of the street, then, when subdued, they move across the street to you. 

    Your big brother who protects you from bullies morphs into your big mother, who wipes your butt and sends you to your room without dindin.

    AND I AM SAD TO SAY:
    Big Momma is in the other room, with a frying pan in her hands, and she isn’t happy with your behavior.  Frankly, she is P’d Off!

  • I have friends who pray outside the BU clinic often.  One of them once had the police called on him because he stood inside the buffer zone and prayed the Rosary.  He didn’t approach anyone; he didn’t block the door.  In fact, he stood up against the building so that he wouldn’t be blocking the door. 

    The police came and the head of the clinic came out and said that he had been harassing the employees.  He had not spoken a word to the employees or to any women entering the clinic.  He was just praying.  The police had a word with him, and he apologized as if he had done something wrong. 

    I was there and I said, “Officer, he hasn’t harassed anyone.  He’s just praying.”  The Planned Parenthood employee, who I’m told is the head of all of PP for Massachusetts, asked to have a private word with the police officer. 

    She did, and then he came back and said, “His violation was standing in the buffer zone.”  I said, “Officer, he didn’t approach anyone within the buffer zone.  He was just praying.” 

    The officer replied, “He needs to pray outside the buffer zone.”  (The entire time my friend, who is very quiet and non-confrontational, was saying to drop it.)

    I said, “Officer, with all respect, he hasn’t been harassing anyone, and since the law says that he can pray inside the buffer zone, I don’t understand why you are forcing him to stop.”

    The officer said, “No, the law says that he cannot be in the buffer zone.”

    I replied, “Officer, the law is posted on the building itself.  Please, come take a look.”

    He said, “The employee told me otherwise.  Why would she have lied to me?”

    I said, “Officer, the law is posted.  I’m sure she is unaware of what the law states and did not mean to deceive you.”

    He wouldn’t look.  The police, for the most part, have no interest in protecting the rights of the pro-lifers here in Massachusetts.

  • As much as I don’t like a lot of what the ACLU stands for, we have to give them credit on this issue.  As anti-life and anti-family forces gain momentum, our civil liberties are greatly threatened.  Once those are chipped away, is anyone really safe?

  • “This bill is overly broad, because it would ban even silent protest, as well as efforts to respectfully distribute information on either side of the issue.

    In this case, the ACLU nailed it. The problem the pro-aborts are seeing is that, on occasion, a baby is saved because of information respectfully submitted to the mom.

    Pro-aborts do NOT like it when a baby is rescued.

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