The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned a law creating a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics in Massachusetts. In a unanimous ruling Thursday, the court found the law was unconstitutional.
“The Supreme Court found that this law was unconstitutional,” says South Texas College of Law assistant professor Jason Blackman, “that it violated the Free Speech rights of these people who were speaking on the sidewalks near the abortion clinics.”
Blackman says the court ruled the buffer zone violated the Free Speech rights of the protesters.
“People who actually come up, touching and bothering the people entering the clinic, that's completely prohibited,” professor Blackman says. “But, we can't have a blanket ban on public speech at such a large distance on a public sidewalk.”
Blackman says the ruling wasn't surprising. The court has issued several strong decisions supporting freedom of speech rights in cases.