WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer zone law on Thursday.
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of anti-abortion protesters who argue being required to stay 35 feet away from clinic entrances is a violation of their freedom of speech. The decision rolls back a state policy intended to safeguard women's access to clinics without harassment.
The ruling may put other buffer zones in jeopardy across the country, paving the way for similar laws to be struck down.
Burlington City Attorney Eileen Blackwood released this statement on the ruling:
"The Burlington buffer zone ordinance has both similarities and differences from the Massachusetts law. We are in the process of reviewing and analyzing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Massachusetts case to determine the impact on our ordinance and will share the results of our analysis in the next few days."
Justice John Roberts' majority opinion acknowledging states have a legitimate interest in passing laws to preserve access to health facilities. However, the justices write Massachusetts did not try out enough alternatives before enacting the 35 foot zone.