Keeping protesters away from clinics

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2007
Keeping protesters away from clinics
58
Mon, 11-12-2007 - 3:08pm

I respect the right to free speech, but I feel there needs to be a better way to moderate the behavior of protesters outside abortion clinics. Some way that allows them to hold their signs and chant their chants, but includes some measure of protection for the patients and clinic workers being harassed.

In Massachussetts, a new bill was recently passed establishing a buffer zone of 35 feet around clinics within which protesters can't come, and underscores a previous law that protesters must stay at least 6 feet from patients and clinic workers.

What do you think of this as a way to allow freedom from harassment as well as freedom to protest? Will it get the job done? Is it enough? Is it fair?

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STATE POLITICS & POLICY | Massachusetts Legislature Gives Final Approval of Bill Expanding Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones

The Massachusetts Legislature on Thursday gave final approval to a bill that would expand abortion clinic buffer zones from 18 feet to 35 feet, the New York Times reports.

The state Senate recently passed the bill unanimously, and the House passed it by a 122-28 vote. Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is expected to sign the bill into law this week. According to the Times, the measure would apply to 10 clinics in the state that offer abortion but will not apply to hospitals.

"The basic goal of the bill is to make sure patients and staff can enter reproductive health facilities without being obstructed, intimidated and harassed," state Rep. Carl Sciortino (D), co-sponsor of the bill, said. He added, "Current law is completely unenforceable and did not protect patients and staff the way it intended" (Zezima, New York Times, 11/9).

The current law, which was passed in 2000, requires protesters to stay at least six feet away from clinic employees and patients and establishes an 18-foot zone within which individuals may not interact with clinic visitors or staff for the purpose of counseling or protesting. There have been no successful prosecutions under the law because officials are not clear how to prove patient consent or refusal when protesters approach (Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 10/25).

Opponents of the new measure say it violates free speech rights. "There's no question there will be litigation," Marie Sturgis, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, said, adding, "This certainly clashes with First Amendment right, and is something we should all be concerned about." According to the Times, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 2001 dismissed a challenge to the current buffer zone law. Kelly O'Bryan, political director for NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, said, "We're not trying to silence at all," adding, "We're trying to have a very small, but important, zone of safety for patients and staff who are entering these facilities" (New York Times, 11/9).
http://npwf.convio.net/site/News2?abbr=daily2_&page=NewsArticle&id=7844&news_iv_ctrl=-1

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2006
Mon, 11-12-2007 - 6:19pm

People have the right of free speech. You cannot ake that right away from one group b/c you disgree with them.

I think the bill is fair and enough. They have a right to protest on a public street. However, they should not be disruptive and in people's faces. The women have a right to enter an abortion clinic. The protestors have the right to protest abortion but not impede a woman entering a clinic.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2007
Mon, 11-26-2007 - 11:35pm
Even as
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-19-2007
Thu, 12-06-2007 - 12:07pm
I will never forget the first time I went to Planned Parenthood while I was in college, There were protesters out front with the Dead baby posters etc. I walked in to pick up my free birth control and got the third degree, A woman probabaly in her 50s kept saying Abortion is murder over and over again, and the clinic I went to did not even perform abortions, It was basically a gynocologist's office. SO she got in my face and I simply said "Lady I am in college and I don't wanna get knocked up, and would like to finish school if that is ok with you." SHe looked like she wanted to Sh_t herself. I just thought it was ridiculous I had to go through that harrassment for some BC.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2007
Thu, 12-06-2007 - 12:17pm
I agree. The harassment based on assumptions is absolutely ridiculous. I got severely harassed when I went to terminate. The spewing of propaganda was completely absurd. I was told that I had a baby inside of me that loved me...Um, I was 5 weeks pregnant. Embryos are not capable of emotion... Imagine her surprise when I told her that I knew all about fetal development as I was already a mother. Yeah, she was shocked that I might actually have thought things through. *eyeroll*

melissajune21.jpg picture by ambersspace


&nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-19-2007
Thu, 12-06-2007 - 12:26pm

Sorry you had to go through that...Hopefully this law prevents someone else from enduring the same harrassment.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2004
Thu, 12-13-2007 - 7:53pm
>>I think it should be legal to abort protesters. And Jesus.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket






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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2007
Sun, 12-16-2007 - 2:12pm

I will say again, that protesters do need to think about how their actions affect how people see them. For example, a women goes to an abortion clinic, walking towards the doors a group of people get in her face and screams you're an idiot, God hates you, etc. Of course thats going to erritate her, and make her think were a bunch of freaks. I don't however believe in abortion, yeah there is freedom of speech but since when is killing innocent children okay?


Instead we should protest in a human manner, using good manners, and protest in a calm way, we should tell the truth in a way that will get peoples attention, not turn them away.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-2007
Sun, 12-16-2007 - 8:38pm

I don't know what some PL's are thinking.

Ella Grayce

Lilypie1st Birthday Ticker
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-19-2007
Mon, 12-17-2007 - 12:15pm
I agree if you are Pro-Life, you should protest in a calm way and not harrass the women going into a clinic. Why not protest at legislative building if that is really how you feel? Why harrass women who are already going through enough as it is. It seems really arrogant to me that some people feel like they have all the answers and should talk a women out of an abortion, most have weighed the options and realize what they are doing. IMO some don't care to be "saved" and don't see abortion as "killing innocent babies"

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2007
Sun, 12-23-2007 - 11:01am

What do you mean when you say those women are already going through anough as it is? do they understand the turture their about to put their child throught? And they didn't have to have sex.


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