For Immediate Release
NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts on Supreme Court Decision to Strike Down Buffer Zones in McCullen v. Coakley
WASHINGTON - Today, the Supreme Court struck down the Massachusetts law securing providers and patients with a 35-foot buffer zone around reproductive-health clinics in a unanimous opinion.
Said NARAL Pro-Choice America President, Ilyse Hogue:
“We're deeply disappointed in the decision of the Supreme Court today to overturn Massachusetts' buffer zone law. The law was supported by public safety officials whose goal is to protect women, doctors, and clinic workers from the relentless harassment and intimidation that they face daily. This movement has a long history of violence and has committed eight murders and 17 attempted murders since 1991. While the Supreme Court today acknowledged that these laws play an important role in protecting women and doctors, today the Justices made it more difficult for states to protect their citizens. Let's be clear: today's decision puts women and healthcare providers at greater risk. We will work to make sure that legislatures in states are focused on making clinics safe for women free of harassment, intimidation, and violent acts."
Said NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Executive Director Megan Amundson:
“The buffer zone did exactly what it was intended to do: it prevented violence at clinics while allowing anti-choice protestors to express their views. Without it, the only tool we have left to combat clinic violence is to prosecute people after they have already committed violent acts. We know that prosecuting zealots does not deter them. But violence at clinics does deter women from accessing essential medical care. This decision turns back the clock to the days when women were too intimidated by protestors to seek medical care. Women’s health will suffer because of it. Every person in our state, and across the nation, deserves the right to access health care services free from violence, harassment, and intimidation.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as "one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America."