The Boston Herald was one of many papers to report on MCFL’s attempts to inject a modicum of sanity into the new buffer zone debate. Here’s the story:
BOSTON — Massachusetts lawmakers should proceed cautiously to avoid future lawsuits as they consider altering security rules around abortion clinics in the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, a group that opposes abortion said Tuesday.
In a letter sent to all House and Senate members, Massachusetts Citizens for Life expressed concern about legislation being crafted “that in all likelihood will lead to more litigation,” because it could infringe on the rights of anti-abortion protesters to use public sidewalks to speak with or distribute literature to women entering a clinic.
In last month’s unanimous decision, the high court struck down the state’s 35-foot buffer zone law, deeming it a restraint on the free-speech rights of anti-abortion protesters.
Attorney General Martha Coakley and Gov. Deval Patrick have said a bill was being prepared that would address the concerns of the justices, with the hope it could be approved before the legislative session ends July 31.
The specifics of the proposal have yet to be announced, although Coakley has said one option would be to give police more power to disperse crowds. Operators of the clinics, which also offer services other than abortion, have pointed to past efforts by some protesters to block entranceways.
The bill could be filed this week.
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