Supreme Court Rules Buffer Zones Unconstitutional
Blocked Sidewalks and Hostile Protesters Gain Ground
June 26, 2014 – New York, NY – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled buffer zones around abortion clinics unconstitutional in McCullen v. Coakley. The decision strikes down any law that would establish clinic buffer zones of any size, but will allow for states to utilize court orders or other measures to more narrowly address a specific clinic’s challenges.
“We don’t allow campaigning within 100 feet of a polling site, but we can’t stop hostile and aggressive protesters from accosting women who are simply trying to go to their doctor?” said NOW-NYC President Sonia Ossorio. “This is a step backwards for women’s right to reproductive healthcare.”
The NOW-NYC Service Fund runs a clinic escort program that recruits, trains, and places volunteers outside of abortion clinics in New York City to provide support to women entering health clinics.
“What we see happening at clinics is downright cruel, frightening and out of bounds of civic engagement,” Ossorio said.
“Protesters are not simply handing women pamphlets and having quiet discussions. Women with children in hand are being verbally attacked and physically menaced. This decision gives all the power to the protesters and ignores the rights of women to access the healthcare they need.”
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