Letter: Keep the buffer zones

In 2000, six years after an anti-choice zealot murdered two women working as receptionists at Planned Parenthood clinics in Brookline, our Legislature passed Massachusetts’ first buffer zone law, an 18-foot floating buffer that unfortunately failed to stop protesters from blocking entrances and intimidating patients. In 2007, the Legislature passed the fixed 35-foot buffer zone law currently in place. This law has proven an effective tool in allowing women safe access to abortion clinics, while providing plenty of opportunity for lawful protesters to communicate their message loudly and clearly.

Yet many opponents of choice are relentless in their demand for the unfettered ability to bully, threaten and scare women and health care providers alike. On Wednesday, anti-choice plaintiffs’ lawsuit seeking to strike Massachusetts’ buffer zone law went before the United States Supreme Court for opening arguments.

Across the country, we’ve seen out-of-control protesters go to extreme measures, including murder, to stop women from receiving care at these facilities. These acts of violence not only affect the patients and workers at these clinics, they do harm to the entire community.

Dec. 30 marked the anniversary of the clinic murders in Brookline that shook our entire state. This law, with a proven track record of protecting public safety, needs to stay in place.



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