By Greg Corombos
WND.com — Pro-life activists are celebrating a Supreme Court victory, as the justices unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law requiring a buffer zone around abortion clinics.
On Thursday, in the case of McCullen v. Coakley, the court voted 9-0 to strike down the Massachusetts requirement of a 35-foot buffer zone surrounding abortion clinics. Eleanor McCullen sued the state over the law, claiming the buffer zone gave her and other peaceful pro-life activists little opportunity to have conversations with women coming to the clinics. An appeals court previously sided with the state, which claimed the zone was necessary to protect the health and lives of patients and medical personnel.
Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said the state could come up with less restrictive ways to preserve free speech for activists while allowing others unobstructed access to the clinic. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a concurring opinion criticizing Roberts for not going further and accusing the court of granting far more leniency to pro-choice groups than to pro-life activists.
While the decision could have been even stronger from a pro-life perspective, activists are still thrilled with the decision.
“This is huge. What this Massachusetts law intended was a ‘heckler’s veto.’ That’s essentially saying that if people don’t like the speech that they’re hearing from other people or others’ freedom of expression, that if they just yell out enough and enough people don’t like it then the heckler can veto free speech. The Supreme Court said, ‘No, that is not the case,’” said WND columnist and Liberty Counsel Action Vice President Matt Barber, who is also founder of BarbWire.com.
Despite some conservatives hoping for a stronger ruling, Barber said the fact this was unanimous is a big deal.
“This was a surprisingly unanimous decision and speaks well for the protection of innocent human life as well as both freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression in the United States,” he said.
Read more: WND.com
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