Bill on tap to strengthen abortion clinic safety

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BOSTON (AP) -- A bill intended to address the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down Massachusetts’ abortion clinic buffer zone law is expected to be filed this week.

The high court last month tossed out the law that established 35-foot protest-free "buffer zones" around the entrances of abortion clinics, deeming it a restraint on the free-speech rights of anti-abortion protesters.

Gov. Deval Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley and other lawmakers and women’s rights groups are pushing for a bill that would toughen protections for patients entering the clinics while preserving free speech rights.

Massachusetts Citizens for Life, which opposes abortion, said lawmakers should proceed cautiously to avoid future lawsuits.

Specifics of the bill have yet to be announced, although Coakley has said one option would be to give police more power to disperse crowds.


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