National Partnership for Women & Families

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'Buffer Zone' Bill Clears N.H. House

'Buffer Zone' Bill Clears N.H. House

May 19, 2014 — The New Hampshire House last week approved a bill (SB 319) that would create a "buffer zone" of 25 feet around reproductive health clinics, the AP/Boston Globe reports.

The House voted 162-100 to pass the bill, which now returns to the state Senate for review.

According to the AP/Globe, the bill was created in response to protests and picketing outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Manchester. More than 60 patient complaints have been filed at the clinic since the start of 2013, supporters of the bill said.

Bill Debate

House members rejected two amendments that would have allowed other businesses to establish buffer zones.

Opponents of the bill said existing laws sufficiently protect people entering women's health clinics and that the measure would restrict the rights of protesters and nearby property owners.

Supporters said the bill would appropriately balance privacy and free speech rights (Love, AP/Boston Globe, 5/16).