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Protection Against Clinic Violence

A law-enforcement official may order the immediate dispersal of a gathering of two or more people that substantially impedes access to (defined as to block, detain, render access unsafe or difficult, or departure from) an entrance or a driveway to a reproductive-health-care facility (defined as a place where abortion services are provided, other than a hospital).  Following such order, protesters must immediately disperse at least 25 feet from an entrance or a driveway to the reproductive-health-care facility for eight hours, or until the close of clinic business hours.  The 25-foot boundary must be clearly delineated and the law posted outside a reproductive-health-care facility.  Failure to comply with such order shall be punishable by fine, jail, or both.  

If a person intentionally injures or attempts to injure a person attempting to enter a reproductive-health-care facility shall be punishable by fine or jail, or both.  If a person impedes or interferes with the operation of a vehicle attempting to enter or depart from a reproductive-health-care facility shall be punished by a fine or jail.  

If a person fails to comply with a dispersal order or fails to comply with other sections of the law, civil action can be pursued.  A court may award as remedies: (1) temporary, preliminary, and permanent injunctive relief; (2) compensatory and punitive damages; and (3) costs, attorneys' fees, and expert witness fees.  In an action brought by the attorney general the court may also award civil penalties.  Any violation of an injunction is considered a criminal offense.  Mass. Gen. Law Ann. ch. 266, §120EA  a-i (Enacted 2014).  

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