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Thursday, January 16, 2014

I'm Not The Only One Who's Puzzled

Scott Lemieux also scratches his head over Emily Bazelon’s frame of the Mass buffer zone case:

One the one hand, there are no actual health risks posed by abortion that justify singling out abortion clinics for special regulations (as opposed to applying neutral requirements that apply to all medical professionals) — abortion is safer than childbirth. And the real agenda of these regulations — to shut down clinics that perform abortions — isn’t even hidden by their advocates. On the other hand, there are good reasons to treat reproductive health clinics differently in terms of access and safety — there are no systematic campaigns of terrorism and harassment against dental clinics or walk-in medical clinics. Maybe there’s a good argument for why the state can create buffer zones around public officials, funerals, and the Supreme Court of the United States but not reproductive health clinics, but this sure isn’t it.
Opponents of reproductive rights certainly have a First Amendment right to make their views known, including to women who might be about to obtain or arrange an abortion. But the Massachusetts law does not prevent this. It does prevent some protestors from continuing to make arguments on precisely their terms to a a private individual who has already demonstrated herself an unwilling audience. In the context of the genuine safety threats to reproductive health clinics, it’s far from obvious to me that this particular type of conduct is protected by the First Amendment.

Yeah, I just can't see how the buffer zone places a huge burden on free speech, particularly when balanced against other issues and rights.  One hopes it's just a little miscommunication and Bazelon was laying out what the majority's "logic" might be in throwing out the law, as opposed to her own views.


January 16, 2014 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink


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