Abortion opponents wage high court free speech fight over painted line outside Mass. clinics

  • Article by: MARK SHERMAN , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 13, 2014 - 5:50 AM

BOSTON — Eleanor McCullen clutches a baby's hat knit in pink and blue as she patrols a yellow semicircle painted on the sidewalk outside a Planned Parenthood health clinic on a frigid December morning with snow in the forecast.

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wisebookJan. 13, 14 4:50 AM

Interesting issue. Where does one's right to free speech overtake someone else's right to be free from harassment?

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liora51Jan. 13, 14 5:51 AM

HIPAA. Privacy. Think about it.

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barbjensJan. 13, 14 6:21 AM

They are against abortion, then don't have one. If you are against alcohol why do you not plant your self outside the bars, etc. These people are inflicting their beliefs, mostly religion based, on everyone else. If it is truly a "free" country then stop trying to rule everyone else. I would not have one but it is up to each person to decide what is important to them.

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windigolakeJan. 13, 14 6:56 AM

Doesn't the clinic have the right to determine who is on their property. Do abortion opponents have the right to go ANYWHERE to shout their beliefs? By extension, if they can stand at the entrance, they should have the same right to go inside and spread their anti-woman message. When will these radicals realize that they are in the minority and have no right to try to change other people's beliefs.

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ericgus55Jan. 13, 14 7:27 AM

wondigolake - While the clinics have the right to determine who is on their property, they are also 'open to the public.' To keep any individual from legally approaching, or even entering, their facility, they would have to get into the areas of filing trespassing charges and getting restraining orders against each individual protester - which would either require daily police visits or bankrupt the clinics with legal fees (which the protesters would love). The idea of the 'distance from the entrance' rules was to keep things as simple and civil as possible in a complicated legal area (free speech vs privacy).

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normalguyJan. 13, 14 7:28 AM

You must not have read the entire article. This is a free speech on public property issue. They just happen to be discussing abortion. It appears that to some, abortion, which not mentioned in the constitution, is more sacred that free speech. Free speech was placed #1 in the Bill of Rights, not the right to abortion.

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sarahanneJan. 13, 14 7:30 AM

"Mark Rienzi, the Catholic University law professor who represents the protesters, said there has not been a documented case of violence at a Massachusetts clinic since the 1994 killings." Since there have not been any foreign terrorist attacks since 2001 lets eliminate all laws against that.

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windigolakeJan. 13, 14 7:35 AM

If the Supreme Court has approved fenced "free speech zones" hundreds of yards away from political parties' conventions, how can 35 feet be a problem. I would think the same criteria should be applied to the anti-women crowd.

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ericgus55Jan. 13, 14 7:51 AM

normalguy - Yes, free speech is very important, but this isn't so much about "speech vs. abortion' as 'speech vs freedom to conduct legal business' or 'speech vs. privacy.' That it's about abortion is beside the point. Once an activity is determined to be legal, at what point can those who choose do it just be left alone? Speech is vital, but so are the rest of our freedoms. In the real world, sometimes limits are essential to avoid anarchy.

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markeyboyJan. 13, 14 7:54 AM

It is a reach to advocate constitutional individual speech freedom..., amendment rights freedom,....anti-income redistribution freedom....and at the same time incarcerate your neighbor for violating your views based upon your "beliefs".

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