A contentious law prohibiting pro-life sidewalk counselors from exercising their free speech rights outside of abortion mills has been struck down by the Supreme Court this morning.
The SCOTUS ruling, says attorney Eugene Volokh, “doesn’t overturn Hill v. Colorado, ” the 14-year-old Colorado law which essentially affirmed the legality of an eight-foot buffer zone outside of abortion mills in that state. However, according to USA Today, Massachusetts “went too far — literally” when it instituted the 35-foot buffer zone, which effectively bars any form of successful communication outside of the facilities.
Dismayed by the ruling, Planned Parenthood utilized Facebook to quip that the buffer zone law struck down by the Supreme Court had been, “a commonsense law that protects patient and public safety while balancing free speech rights.”
Free speech rights advocates, however, state that the laws are a clear impingement on fundamental Constitutional rights of Americans. Charles C. W. Cooke at National Review Online pointed out the discriminatory nature of buffer zone laws, noting that the free speech rights of only pro-lifers are affected by them, and not those of any “citizen [who] either works in the clinic or is in agreement with what goes on inside. ”
Planned Parenthood vowed to continue its opposition to the First Amendment of the US Constitution, warning: “This isn’t over.”
The SCOTUS opinions on the Massachusetts case can be read in full here.