Life Legal Defense Foundation Celebrates U.S. Supreme Court Rejection of Massachusetts Buffer Zone
Justices Unanimously Uphold Pro-Life Free Speech
Contact: Tom Ciesielka, 312-422-1333, [email protected]
WASHINGTON, June 26, 2014 /Christian Newswire
/ -- In a unanimous decision, the United States Supreme Court today struck down a 2007 Massachusetts law that created 35-foot no-entry zones around the entrances and driveways of abortion clinics in that state. Life Legal Defense Foundation was the lead filer of an amici brief in defense of the free speech rights of pro-life advocates in McCullen v. Coakley.
Dana Cody, President and Executive Director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, was pleased with the decision, saying "The court is finally seeing through the real motivation behind these buffer zones -- it isn't to protect anyone, it is to silence the truth about abortion -- it ends the lives of children and harms women. Roe made abortion legal, not safe."
The case dealt with a 35-foot buffer zone outside of Massachusetts abortion facilities in which pro-life speech was prohibited. The law made it a crime to "enter or remain" within the zone, unless one fell under one of the four exemptions for patients, clinic employees, public safety officials, and persons passing through the zone without stopping.
The Court's decision, delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts, was that, "The buffer zones burden substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth's asserted interests." The Court declared that the "extreme step of closing a substantial portion of a traditional public forum to all speakers" is something that Massachusetts "may not do" under the First Amendment.
Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas came down even stronger against the buffer zone in a concurring opinion, condemning abortion-supportive prejudices of the Court. "Today's opinion carries forward this Court's practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents. There is an entirely separate, abridged edition of the First Amendment applicable to speech against abortion," Scalia wrote, referencing cases that have served to muzzle the rights of prolife advocates.
Cody maintained that Life Legal Defense Foundation will continue to challenge cases around the country that, "violate the rights of sidewalk counselors to communicate their life-affirming message to desperate women who think abortion is their only choice." About Life Legal Defense Foundation
Life Legal Defense Foundation was established in 1989, and is a nonprofit organization composed of attorneys and other concerned citizens, committed to giving helpless and innocent human beings of any age, and their advocates, a trained and committed voice in the courtrooms of our nation. For more information about the Life Legal Defense Foundation, visit www.lldf.org.