Clinic Buffer Zones and the Supreme Court

Today, the Supreme Court ruled against a buffer zone law in Massachusetts, requiring protesters stay 35ft back from clinic entrances.  The law had been crafted after a violent summer of anti-abortion protests in 1994, which culminated in the killings of two clinic workers in Brookline.

This was framed as a free speech issue, as if random strangers have the right to accost people seeking medical attention, and harangue them with religious beliefs.  As if the right to free speech somehow demands that speech be heard.  A lot has been written about that today, and I’m not going to get into the legal arguments.  I will just say this.

The law applies to “reproductive health care facilities”, “a place where abortions are performed.”

Imagine a world in which abortion was an integrated part of healthcare. Where would they picket? How would they find enough people, or the time? How would they know if they were yelling at someone who was getting their wisdom teeth pulled, or an abortion? If they decided to picket some random clinic, where you were taking your kid for their checkup, how long would you tolerate that nonsense?

Imagine a world where we protected our providers and their patients with our bodies, because they were just mixed in with all the everyday medical care happening.

We have allowed abortion patients and providers to be separated out, to treat them differently. This is on us.  Write a letter to your local hospital or your OB/Gyn.

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