To the editor of THE EAGLE:
On Jan. 15, the Massachusetts Buffer Zone Law went before the U.S. Supreme Court for opening arguments. The law requires that protesters stand 35 feet away from abortion clinic doors in order to allow patients to enter free from intimidation and violence. This law has a proven track record of improving public safety.
Across the country, including here in Massachusetts, we have a history of fatal violent acts around family planning clinics. We’ve seen anti-choice protesters go to extreme measures, like murder, to stop women from receiving care at these facilities. These violent acts not only affect patients and workers at these clinics, they affect the community.
Dec. 30 marked the anniversary of the clinic shootings in Brookline that claimed multiple lives and shook our entire state. We cannot turn back the clock and allow such harassment. This law needs to stay in place, if not for the safety of the patients and employees, then for the entire community.
Moreover, First Amendment rights should not extend to harassing people entering family planning clinics. As an older woman, I remember what it was like before the pill and before Roe v. Wade. Women who were not celibate could not plan education or careers with any certainty. They lived in constant fear of having to resort to dangerous, illegal abortions if they became pregnant, and becoming pregnant was hard to avoid.
Children deserve to be planned and born to families who are ready for them. As women’s education and training take longer and longer, women need and deserve access to family planning clinics without being harassed all the way to the door.