Maine quietly institutes buffer zones around abortion facilities

pro-life, abortion

Lawmakers in Maine have quickly and quietly instituted a law, LD 1899, requiring a “medical safety zone” around abortion facilities — essentially a buffer zone — with anyone accused of violating the law facing a misdemeanor criminal charge.

According to the Associated Press, the allows abortion facilities to create and mark a buffer zone extending eight feet from the entryway, with the goal of keeping people from blocking the entryway and harassing patients. Rep. Jay McCreight, who introduced the bill, said it will give “important protections” to women seeking abortions. “This bill will provide important protections so that people will no longer be repeatedly and intentionally obstructed from receiving the health care they want and need,” she said. “I am grateful for the governor’s support for this legislation, which will bring greater safety and equity in access to health care.”

In the same statement, Gov. Janet Mills was announced to have already signed the bill into law. It will take effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns.

READ: Maine amends state law to allow installation of Safe Haven Baby Boxes

Maine has, in recent years, moved to expand access to abortion. In addition to trying to increase taxpayer funding for abortion, the state permitted an abortion facility to dispense abortion pills contact-free, putting women at risk of numerous complications, long before the FDA pushed forth the same agenda.

Establishing buffer zones to keep pro-lifers from ministering to abortion-minded women is just another step towards making Maine another abortion haven in the U.S.

Buffer zones have long been controversial, because they not only prevent pro-life sidewalk counselors from ministering to abortion-minded women, but because they also infringe on free speech. As it is, some courts have already ruled against buffer zones, saying they do not apply to peaceful, pro-life protesters. While picketing, patrolling, or demonstrating within buffer zones has been successfully banned, conversely, pro-life sidewalk counselors have been given approval by courts to have one-on-one conversations with women and offer them alternatives, resources, and support.

In McCullen v. Coakley, the Supreme Court overturned a Massachusetts law banning pro-lifers from stepping within a 35-foot radius of abortion facilities. The Supreme Court, in a 9-0 vote, called the buffer zone law unconstitutional, and criticized the state for attempting to silence pro-lifers. While, again, harassment and obstruction are not permitted, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed that merely talking to women, praying, or simply maintaining a presence outside of an abortion facility, should be permitted.

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