KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Challenge To Massachusetts Abortion Law

This challenge is rooted in issues related to free speech.

Politico: Supreme Court To Take Up Massachusetts Abortion Law
As lawsuits over early abortion laws spring up across the country, the Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a different kind of abortion challenge — this one involving free speech. The court will consider a case challenging a Massachusetts law that bans demonstrations within 35 feet of entrances and driveways of abortion clinics. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in January sided with the state in McCullen v. Coakley, ruling that the law strikes the right balance between protecting free speech and patients' rights (Millman, 6/25).

The Boston Globe: Justices Will Examine State’s Clinic Buffer Law
To the surprise of many observers, the court decided it will hear a challenge to the state’s 2007 law from a group of abortion opponents, who say it unlawfully restricts their free speech rights. In taking the case, the court appears poised to weigh two competing, strongly held rights: freedom of speech and the ability of women to seek abortion services. ... Massachusetts is one of just three states with buffer zone laws, along with Colorado and Montana, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group focused on sexual and reproductive health research. Some cities, including Chicago and New York City, have such laws. In Burlington, Vt., a federal judge this year upheld an ordinance that also provided a 35-foot buffer (Schworm, 6/24).

The Associated Press: Court To Hear Appeal Of Mass. Abortion Buffer Zone
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to reconsider the constitutionality of a 2007 Massachusetts law that bars protests within 35 feet of abortion clinic entrances, exits and driveways. The justices agreed Monday to hear an appeal from abortion opponents who want the law thrown out, saying it violates their free speech rights (6/25).

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