How would you feel if you went to buy some beer or wine for a party and encountered a group of strangers blocking the entrance to a liquor store and shouting about the evils of alcohol and when you tried to walk around or through them, they kept blocking your way, telling you that beer and wine are the work of the devil and they are trying to save you from his clutches? More than likely, you would be inclined to call the police, as risky as that can be these days.
Yet, the US Supreme Court has unanimously ruled, in striking down Massachusetts’ 35-foot buffer zones around abortion clinics, it’s okay to subject women entering an abortion clinic to such harassment in the name of “free speech.”
Never mind that abortions and liquor are legal. Okay, that’s a bad analogy but what compares to the hell the anti-abortion protesters put women through?
However, when it comes to political speech and the First Amendment right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances, the court has upheld herding people into so-called “free speech zone” far from where the people they are trying to reach can see or hear them.
In a 9-0 decision in Wood et al. v. Moss et al., Justice Ruth Ginsberg wrote, “People are not at liberty to speak whenever, however, and wherever they please,” adding, ‘In that regard, we have recognized that securing the safety of the president is a vital concern.”
Earlier this year, this same court ruled that military commanders have the right to remove protesters for cause (however they define “cause”) from designated “free speech zones.”
So when the alleged “safety” of the president, not to mention his/her comfort, is concerned, the only free speech of protesters allowed is where it can’t be seen or heard, and when military commanders decide there is “cause,” they can shut down free speech in designated zones, but the safety and comfort of a woman seeking a legal abortion is of no concern, therefore the anti-abortionists can harass away—cajoling, praying, condemning.
By the way, visitors to the court must “maintain suitable order and decorum within the Supreme Court building and grounds.” Demonstrations defined as “picketing, speech making, marching, holding vigils or religious services and all other like forms of conduct that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers” are prohibited. So much for free speech, eh?
The anti-abortion madness has gone on for more than 41 years. The anti-abortionists are so pro-life that they jeopardize the health and lives of pregnant women in order to salvage fetuses that they want nothing to do with supporting when they are born if the mothers can’t.
Anti-abortionists have murdered abortion providers, burned and bombed clinics, stood shouting outside the homes of providers, followed providers’ children to school, and gotten restrictive state laws passed to make abortions less accessible and caused clinics to close. Now the Supremes say they have the free speech right of harassing women entering clinics. Massachusetts’ mere 35-foot buffer zone is 35 feet too far.