Burlington Considering "Bubble Zone" To Replace Buffer Zone

By Steph Machado

Published 08/28 2014 10:35PM

Updated 08/28 2014 10:48PM

BURLINGTON - The city is trying to come up with a new way to protect patients going in and out of reproductive health centers.

Burlington's buffer zone ordinance is no longer being enforced after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Massachusetts.

The 35-foot zone prevented any protesting or demonstrating surrounding the Planned Parenthood on St. Paul Street.

Planned Parenthood has drafted a new ordinance, that would create an 8-foot "bubble zone" around people entering the health center. Protestors would not be able to harass or approach people without their consent within that bubble.

The Ordinance Committee has asked City Attorney Eileen Blackwood to determine if this would be constitutional before taking any action. Attorney Blackwood says a similar law in Colorado was upheld by the Supreme Court. She says the McCullen decision that struck down buffer zones did not overrule the bubble zone decision in Colorado.

Attorney Blackwood is still looking into the new draft. The Ordinance Committee plans to consider it next month.

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