A game-changing condom that kills almost all sexually transmitted infections, including herpes, HIV and HPV is one step closer to hitting the market.
Last week in McCullen v. Coakley, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a Massachusetts buffer zone law which kept anti-choice protesters 35 feet from reproductive health clinics was an unconstitutional infringement on their right to free speech.
But really, that’s just one version of what happened, and it’s not even the most accurate.
More accurately, the Supreme Court 1) bought into the false premise of altruistic “sidewalk counseling,” and 2) prioritized violence and misinformation in the name of reducing the number of abortions over the safety and well-being of patients and employees at reproductive health clinics.
The following quotes explain.
1) Chief Justice Roberts, on how buffer zones have “dramatically” reduced the number of women talked out of having an abortion.
“The burdens on the petitioners’ speech have clearly taken their toll. Although McCullen claims that she has persuaded about 80 women not to terminate their pregnancies since the 2007 amendment, she also says that she reaches ‘far fewer people’ than she did before the amendment. […] The buffer zones have also made it substantially more difficult for petitioners to distribute literature to arriving patients.”
Here, Roberts laments the fact that buffer zones have prevented more patients from being bullied and threatened out of their well-considered and constitutionally protected right to have an abortion. He views the autonomy of these decisions as a negative consequence of keeping anti-choice protesters at a distance. The priority here isn’t more free speech, but less pregnancies ending in abortion.
2) Chief Justice Roberts, differentiating between “protesters” and “petitioners”
“Some of the individuals who stand outside Massachusetts abortion clinics are fairly described as protesters, who express their moral or religious opposition to abortion through signs and chants or, in some cases, more aggressive methods such as face-to-face confrontations. Petitioners take a different track. They attempt to engage women approaching the clinics in what they call ‘sidewalk counseling,’ which involves offering information about alternatives to abortion and help pursuing these options.”
There are two troubling aspects to this quote. 1) His ruling is based on the false idea that he is protecting the right of peaceful “petitioners” to offer counseling and assistance. However we know that these are not the tactics or goals of anti-choice protesters. In effect, what he is truly protecting is harassment. 2) Even though he acknowledges that there are aggressive protesters, he chooses to overlook decades of violence and groups these people with the ones he thinks are peaceful. He knows that aggressive behavior is a main characteristic of anti-choice protesters, and not just a case of a few bad apples, yet he willingly overlooks this to maintain the impression that instead of sanctioning aggression he is merely protecting polite dialogue.
Today, the Supreme Court will be ruling on the Hobby Lobby case. Share what you think will happen through your blogs, Instagram pics and video, YouTube clips and tweets. All you have to do is use the hashtag #DearSCOTUS. So make a sign, record a video, or write a blog and join the protest!