The Supreme Court today unanimously (!) overturned 35 foot buffer zones to protect women from being harassed by anti-choice protesters outside women’s health clinics. (They did split 5-4 on whether there should be any buffer zones at all, but the overturning of the Massachusetts law was unanimous).
There had been a 35 foot buffer zone around clinics in Massachusetts. No comment from the Court about the irony of their decision being announced behind a 100 foot buffer zone outside the court, supposedly to protect them from the same caring conversations to which women need to be subjected?
My biggest objection to today’s Supreme Court ruling about buffer zones around women’s health clinics is this:
The Supreme Court’s opinion distinguished protesters from those who “seek not merely to express their opposition to abortion, but to engage in personal, caring, consensual conversations with women about various alternatives.”
Isn’t it nice that these Supreme Court justices care so much for women that they want to make sure they are subjected to UNWANTED, UNASKED FOR, and UNNECESSARY “personal, caring conversations” with strangers who want to tell them how to live their lives?
Wow. I feel so much better knowing that the Court knows what I need more than I do.
You may think this is about abortion. The protesters outside the clinics, both those screaming about being baby killers and those wanting to carry on those “personal, caring conversations” with strangers sure think it is about abortion, and that their freedom to believe abortion is an unqualified evil justifies just about anything they want to do.
But women go to Planned Parenthood clinics for all sorts of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with abortion. I went there for a pregnancy test once, when I didn’t know where else to go and didn’t have insurance. Many women get their birth control there, or have their pap smears and annual exams there. Only 3 percent of women who visit Planned Parenthood are there for abortions. (Although I’d be as upset about this ruling if 100% of their business were abortions).
And now we can ALL be subjected to “personal, caring conversations” with strangers just because…why? Because they somehow have more rights than we do to enter a health clinic in peace and safety?
I guaran-damn-tee it that if there were “men’s reproductive health clinics” and people were wanting to have unwanted “personal, caring conversations” with men entering those clinics, this case would not have made it to the Supreme Court.
“The buffer zone did exactly what it was intended to do: it prevented violence at clinics while allowing anti-choice protestors to express their views. Without it, the only tool we have left to combat clinic violence is to prosecute people after they have already committed violent acts. We know that prosecuting zealots does not deter them. But violence at clinics does deter women from accessing essential medical care. This decision turns back the clock to the days when women were too intimidated by protestors to seek medical care. Women’s health will suffer because of it.”
If you think I’m overstating the terror that women face when having to walk past a group of screaming protesters, read this article, describing 6 stories.
Here’s part of one of the stories:
“I used to work at a call center, which happened to be in the same building as the Planned Parenthood, where I’m also a patient. There are always protesters outside, including an older man who has these grotesque decoupage collage signs of mutilated fetuses. He makes snide comments like, “Murderer” or, “How could you do this to your child?” to any woman of childbearing years who entered the building. At first, I said, “Most of the people coming to this building are not coming for abortions.” And he said that we were all passively supporting abortions by working in the same building as the clinic. He was that unhinged.”
Do a google search of videos of people protesting at abortion clinics and see what you find. Here’s just one example.
Very disappointed that women’s safety, health, and freedom are not worth 35 feet of buffer zone.