High court voids abortion clinic protest-free zone

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court decision striking down the 35-foot buffer zone outside Massachusetts abortion clinics upholds the free-speech rights of protesters.

Martha Walz, president of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, says the ruling could force women seeking abortions to run a gauntlet of screaming protesters.

But Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, says the vast majority of protesters “peacefully pray and witness in front of abortion facilities.”

The plaintiff in the case, Boston-area grandmother Eleanor McCullen, told reporters outside the Supreme Court in January that she doesn’t yell at women seeking abortions, but offers them help and alternatives. McCullen said if they ignore her and “keep walking, that’s fine.”

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that authorities have less intrusive ways to deal with potential confrontations or other problems that can arise outside clinics.

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