July 29, 2014 — The Massachusetts "Legislature last week took a big step toward addressing the US Supreme Court's objections to the state's 'buffer-zone' law" when both the state "House and Senate ... passed bills (S 2283) that would give police new powers to curb obstruction and harassment outside abortion clinics while allowing peaceful protests," according to a Boston Globe editorial.
The editorial explains, "The new law would allow police to order protestors to withdraw if they impede access to a clinic." In such a case, "a protestor would have to stay at least 25 feet from the building for up to eight hours, or until the end of the clinic's business day." While some antiabortion-rights activists believe "the bill is too restrictive," Boston Police Commissioner William Evans "said it creates clear guidelines for easier enforcement."
The editorial calls the legislation "a sensible bill that balances the need for safety and free access to clinics with the rights of protestors" and urges "[b]oth sides" of the debate to "wait and see how it works in practice before rushing to judgment" (Boston Globe, 7/27).