KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Mass. Measure Introduced To Restore Some Protections After High Court Decision

The bill, which was filed by state Sen. Harriette L. Chandler, seeks to buttress existing laws and add new protections for women entering and leaving abortion clinics. It would do so within the confines of the Supreme Court's recent ruling on abortion clinic "buffer zones."

The New York Times: Abortion Clinic Protections Proposed In Massachusetts
Massachusetts lawmakers expressed support for a bill filed on Monday that they say would address safety concerns that arose when the United States Supreme Court last month struck down 35-foot buffer zones for demonstrators standing near entrances to abortion clinics. Supporters say the bill, filed by State Senator Harriette L. Chandler, would strengthen existing laws and add new protections from protesters for women entering and leaving abortion clinics, and would do so within the confines of the court’s ruling (Bigood, 7/14). 

WBUR: Buffer Zone Ruling Aftermath: Street Scene At Clinic, New Bill Filed
The 35-foot “buffer zone” outside the Planned Parenthood clinic on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston is gone, struck down by the Supreme Court’s buffer-zone ruling last month. But a bill filed today in the Massachusetts legislature would restore some added protections to staff and patients at the state’s reproductive health centers. Among them, Planned Parenthood writes, is police power to issue a “dispersal order” when a group has impeded access to a facility; a prohibition on using “threat or force to intentionally injure or intimidate” someone trying to enter or leave the facility; and a “clear passage” section that bans impeding anyone trying to come or go (Goldberg, 7/14).

The Associated Press: Bill Designed To Strengthen Abortion Clinic Safety
Police would be allowed to disperse groups substantially impeding access to Massachusetts abortion clinics under a bill filed Monday in response to the Supreme Court decision striking down the state's buffer zone law. After a dispersal order is issued, individuals would have to remain at least 25 feet from the clinic's entrances and driveways for a maximum of eight hours. A dispersal area would have to be clearly marked and the dispersal law posted. The bill would also prohibit any physical act or threat of force from being used to intimidate anyone trying to enter or leave a clinic. It would also prohibit anyone from knowingly impeding an individual or vehicle's access to a facility (LeBlanc, 7/15).

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