FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2014
Statement by Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, on the U.S. Supreme Court’s consideration of McCullen v. Coakley, a challenge to the 2007 Massachusetts law that established buffer zone protections around reproductive-health clinics:
“As the U.S. Supreme Court listens to arguments challenging a 2007 Massachusetts law that created safe buffer zones to protect health clinics, we hope the court understands what they are really considering — whether a woman has the right to safe access to care without being subjected to harassment, intimidation or obstruction.
Across the country, extreme, often violent, anti-choice protesters physically block access to clinics and intimidate people exercising their constitutionally protected rights. As the justices of the Supreme Court deliberate the merits of the law, they will do so from inside a building also protected by restrictions on protest activity. Don’t the women of Massachusetts, in the midst of making important health and family planning decisions, deserve the same protection?”
In addition to protecting women, buffer zones also serve to protect those who work within these facilities. Just as recently as 2012, there were five reported attacks of arson at abortion clinics across the country. In that same year, anti-choice activists launched a new website, www.AbortionDocs.org, to collect detailed information on every abortion provider in the country. Since then, abortion opponents have stalked numerous doctors listed on the site.
Megan Amundson, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, had this to say:
“There is a history of violence around abortion clinics, both across the country and in Massachusetts—the abortion clinic shootings in Boston and Brookline that killed two and wounded five in 1994 were the impetus for passing the Buffer Zone Law. Since its passage, clinics in Massachusetts have not seen a decrease in protestors, but have seen a dramatic decrease in violence and intimidation of women entering clinics. If the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Massachusetts buffer zone law, they would take away the Commonwealth’s most effective tool in ensuring women’s safe access to basic health care.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America led the People’s Defense campaign, a massive grassroots effort to defeat Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Joining the campaign are Indivisible, American Federation of Teachers, Center for American Progress Action Fund, CREDO Action, Demos, Emily’s List, End Citizens United, EveryVoice, MoveOn.org Civic Action, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Service Employees International Union, Stand Up America, and the Working Families Party.