The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a case considering whether women in Massachusetts are being coddled and given preferential treatment when angry and thuggish anti-abortion protesters are ordered by law to remain 35 feet away from them as they approach and enter abortion clinics.
Challenging the 2007 law, anti-abortion activists say it violated their freedom of speech rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by preventing them from standing on the sidewalk and speaking to people entering the clinics.
“It’s a dead speech zone,” said conservative justice Antonin Scalia.
The activists “want to talk to the women who are about to get abortions. It’s a counseling case, not a protest case,” said Scalia, who asked “What’s the alternative? Standing 30 feet away and yelling?”
The lead plaintiff in the case, Eleanor McCullen, has said that she wants to engage in friendly conversations with women seeking abortions in an attempt to tell them they have alternatives. She added that the buffer zone frustrated her efforts and violated her First Amendment rights.
Unsurprisingly in our up-is-down country, Justices seem to be favoring gutting the 2007 law which provided the 35 foot buffer zone for protesting.
Anti-abortion zealots don't really care about free speech rights, what they care about is preventing women from exercising their legal right to choose for themselves. If these zealots win their case in front of the Supremes by appealing to free speech rights, then so be it, but the objective here is to stop women from obtaining an abortion.
Since Roe, these zealots have murdered, harassed, bombed, burned down and sought to humiliate and disgrace women for the sin of exercising their legal right to choose their own reproductive destinies. Recently, the bitterness and the cruelty has gotten even worse.....
Waiting periods. Inaccurate counseling scripts. State-mandated ultrasounds. Over the years, these have been among the many favored obstacles antiabortion activists have thrown in the path of women seeking to terminate their pregnancies—all under the guise of protecting women’s health. Hundreds of these requirements are now law across the country at the state level. And at this point, having mostly exhausted legal means of discouraging women from choosing abortion, opponents recently have stepped up their efforts to block clinics from providing them. More than half the states now have laws instituting onerous and irrelevant licensing requirements, known as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws, which have nothing to do with protecting women and everything to do with shutting down clinics.
And that is what the Massachusetts free speech, 35 foot buffer zone case is all about. Shutting down abortion clinics. Preventing, stopping women from obtaining legal abortions.
So, free speech may be the camo color....but further degrading a woman's right to choose is the game.
The lead plaintiff in this case says.... she wants to engage in friendly conversations with women seeking abortions in an attempt to tell them they have alternatives.
Question: Do you actually believe that a woman entering an abortion clinic, who happens to be pregnant, doesn't know her "alternatives?" Anyone believe that? And if you do believe it.....doesn't that woman have the right to CHOOSE who she takes counsel from?
Question: Do free speech rights guarantee that when you want to have a "conversation" with someone, the person you want to converse with has no legal alternative but to surrender to having that "conversation", even if that person doesn't want it?
Question: When Scalia, as his custom is, smart-assedly says that the Massachusetts case is a "counseling" case.....what in the hell is he talking about? Are all anti-abortion, zealot protesters bonafide counselors now? When a woman seeks the services of an abortion clinic.....must she be forced to receive "counseling" from amateurs whose only objective is to stop women from obtaining abortions? Do constitutional free speech rights guarantee a right to "counsel" others?
Finally....let's consider the 35 foot rule. Remember the Reverend Phelps? He's the person who leads small protests at military and other funerals communicating that the death being recognized that day is a result of god's punishment for America's ongoing acceptance of homosexual Americans and their homosexual practices. Phelps is limited on how close he can come to those who are attending funerals.
Why should Phelps have his free speech limited in such a way when all he wants to do is "counsel" with those who are grieving? Phelps only wants to have a "conversation" with grieving families of dead soldiers to offer "alternatives" to what he understands as our nation's ruinous course. Why, as Scalia so smartly suggested, should Phelps, be subjected to a "dead speech zone?"
One more.....Let's insert 'gun store' for abortion clinic. Let's insert 'pro-gun regulation protesters' for anti-abortion protesters. Now, do the math. Anyone think that the Supremes would have taken a case where pro-gun regulation protesters wanted to strike down a 35 foot buffer zone so they might "counsel" and have a "conversation", you know, face to face, with customers approaching a gun store...instead of "standing 30 feet away and yelling?"
Women have a legal right to obtain abortions in the United States.
Leave them alone.
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