As if shutting down reproductive health clinics throughout the country with ridiculous restrictions and TRAP laws, anti-choice activists are making it even more difficult for people to exercise their freedom of choice. This past Wednesday, the US Supreme Courth began the hearings to the McCullen v. Coakley case. The Massachusetts buffer zone law creates a 35-feet bubble between protesters and the health clinic. Eleanor McCullen, an avid sidewalk “counselor” argues that first amendment rights are being violated when they are denied their right to practice freedom of speech wherever they choose. Well Eleanor, there’s a huge difference between free speech and hate speech. The current law seems to be a fair balance where anti-choice protesters are allowed to vocalize their message, just 35 feet away. The buffer zone provides a safe neutral space, which is about two parking spaces in length, to protect from harassment and torment from protesters.
The main argument is that clinic workers are by default pro-choice, so anti-choice protesters should be allowed to move about the area as they choose. This is probably the most ridiculous argument I’ve ever heard. Employees, people who work there, shouldn’t be allowed to enter and leave their workplace if violent angry protesters can’t? The current law even states, “Massachusetts’s exclusion law—which makes it a crime for speakers other than clinic ‘employees or agents…acting within the scope of their employment’ to ‘enter or remain on a public way or sidewalk’ within thirty-five feet.” The anti-choice activists argue that this is a form of “viewpoint discrimination” under the first amendment.
The buffer zones to these reproductive health clinics are in danger. Keep in mind, these clinics provide more than just abortions, but anyone attempting to get check-ups or birth control. People are being harassed just upon entering the clinic without even knowing why they’re there making some afraid to seek basic services beyond an abortion. Anyone who needs basic check-ups or birth control, to you know, prevent pregnancies, and fear for their own safety.
Practice what you preach anti-choice protesters. They claim to merely want to spread awareness and inform them of their choices in a calm and respectful manner. Bullshit. NARAL of Massachusetts’s cites, “between 2007 and 2012 across the country there have been 8 reported arson cases, 41 incidents of assault and battery, 37 bomb threats, 41 death threats, 81 suspicious packages, 50 reports of staff and patients being stalked, and 30 blockages that shut down clinic services.” State with more lenient buffer zones claim anti-choice protesters follow them when they step out of their car, create a blockage to the door, and shout obscene and offensive names through open car windows. If anti-choice activists care so much about life, why are they resorting to such violent measures to get their point across? Katie, a clinic escort from New Jersey also reported to NARAL, “I’ve personally been spit on, shoved into traffic, followed, screamed at, photographer, recorded, threatened, ‘featured’ by anti-choice groups in their newsletters and told I was a murdered.”
Let’s not forget about George Tiller. Fellow ChoiceWords blogger, Diana, wrote about Tiller in a previous post. His clinic was bombed, shot in both arms, and then finally shot through the eye to his death by anti-abortion groups. If you think I’m exaggerating, take a look for yourself:
These scenes came from a movie called Unborn in the USA that I came across browsing through Netflix. It’s an anti-choice movie explaining tactics and strategies of anti-abortion activists. The video is heavily biased, but you have to know both sides of the argument to defend your position right? Granted, I stopped the film halfway in because I couldn’t handle the ignorance and brainwashing. Pay close attention to the offensive signs, crosses in the ground, and disturbing images presented to patients already dealing with a lot to even go to the clinic. How are you trying to “help” or “counsel” if you call every patient a killer? Definitely a calm and safe environment, huh?
Anti-choice activists are doing every thing they possibly can to prevent patients from exercising their choice. As if it wasn’t hard enough to get to a reproductive health center with all these bills shutting them down, now patients have to deal with violent harassment upon entering the clinic. 35 feet. Honestly, their first amendment right can be exercised 35 feet away. Patients entering a facility making medical decisions for themselves should be personal, private, and safe. Therefore, none of your freaking business!