Jun 26, 2014 / 04:24 pm
A unanimous Supreme Court decision striking down a 35-foot buffer zone around Massachusetts abortion clinics is being praised as a victory not only for pro-life counsellors but for all women.
Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life, told CNA that the ruling “absolutely protects women.”
“Abortion is bad physiologically and psychologically for many, many, many women,” she continued, adding that the ruling supports counselling that “allows women to have informed consent.”
“Abortion can be the most important decision a woman makes in her life, and sometimes she rushes in there in a state of panic,” Monahan explained. “This allows her to put the brakes on, to think about it, to think about what’s actually happening inside of her.”
“So many women regret their abortions,” she lamented.
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Eleanor McCullen and other pro-life sidewalk counsellors in McCullen v. Coakley, striking down a Massachusetts law that placed a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics, including on sidewalks and public streets.
McCullen’s lawyers argued that the law unconstitutionally violated freedom of speech and penalized only those with certain views – specifically pro-life views – from offering counselling and education to those entering the clinics, even if they do so peacefully.
In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the buffer zone regulations “burden substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth’s asserted interests” of protecting access to health care.
“Petitioners wish to converse with their fellow citizens about an important subject on the public streets and sidewalks,” he noted, specifically highlighting the significance of such public places as areas for discussion and exchange of ideas.
The decision means that “there is no abortion exception to the First Amendment, and it may very well mean the end to abortion buffer zones around the country,” Casey Mattox, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, told CNA. …
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