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(Washington Post)   Supreme Court will consider whether abortion patients have too much privacy   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 136
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2540 clicks; posted to Politics » on 24 Jun 2013 at 2:38 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-24 01:36:53 PM
They should work on "no shooting doctors" and "no firebombing" zones.
 
2013-06-24 01:42:14 PM
I'm not really sure how this is unconstitutional.
 
2013-06-24 01:44:29 PM
The justices on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from abortion opponents, who wanted the law thrown out. The law allows individuals to enter the buffer zone only to enter or leave the clinic or reach a destination other than the clinic.

Abortion opponents who regularly stand outside clinics in Boston, Worcester and Springfield claimed the law unfairly keeps them from physically assaulting patients, shouting in their faces, spitting on them, or slapping them. Opponents also said that it interferes with their ability to shoot patients or set off bombs to kill them, as greater accuracy or firepower is required, and that the law is therefore unconstitutional under the second amendment.
 
2013-06-24 01:46:08 PM

DamnYankees: I'm not really sure how this is unconstitutional.


The argument that is being made is that it is the first amendment right of abortion protestors to make their message heard directly outside of the clinic. If I were arguing the case, I would point out that it is designed to protect one specific form of patient, and is therefore politically motivated to limit a specific kind of speech.
 
2013-06-24 01:50:38 PM

WhoIsWillo: The argument that is being made is that it is the first amendment right of abortion protestors to make their message heard directly outside of the clinic.


I understand you don't necessarily believe this argument, but it is absurd. Freedom of speech does not imply freedom to be heard. They can say whatever they want, they can't force anyone else to listen.
 
2013-06-24 01:51:09 PM
Abortion opponents who regularly stand outside clinics in Boston, Worcester and Springfield claimed the law unfairly keeps them from engaging patients in conversations at a closer distance.


Someone want to point me to the section of the First Ammendment that states you have the right to force someone to engage in a conversation with you?
 
2013-06-24 01:52:19 PM

WhoIsWillo: DamnYankees: I'm not really sure how this is unconstitutional.

The argument that is being made is that it is the first amendment right of abortion protestors to make their message heard directly outside of the clinic. If I were arguing the case, I would point out that it is designed to protect one specific form of patient, and is therefore politically motivated to limit a specific kind of speech.


Yup.  Basically the same issue as Madsen v. Women's Health Center (2004), which upheld a 36-foot buffer while striking down a 300-foot buffer.  The vote on the 36-foot buffer was 6-3, with Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy in dissent.  Not hard to imagine that Alito and Roberts may join those three, and the fact that the Court even took the case (where the lower court was aligned with the SCOTUS decision from less than 20 years ago) may suggest that at least one of them already has.
 
2013-06-24 01:53:10 PM

El_Perro: WhoIsWillo: DamnYankees: I'm not really sure how this is unconstitutional.

The argument that is being made is that it is the first amendment right of abortion protestors to make their message heard directly outside of the clinic. If I were arguing the case, I would point out that it is designed to protect one specific form of patient, and is therefore politically motivated to limit a specific kind of speech.

Yup.  Basically the same issue as Madsen v. Women's Health Center (2004 1994), which upheld a 36-foot buffer while striking down a 300-foot buffer.  The vote on the 36-foot buffer was 6-3, with Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy in dissent.  Not hard to imagine that Alito and Roberts may join those three, and the fact that the Court even took the case (where the lower court was aligned with the SCOTUS decision from less than 20 years ago) may suggest that at least one of them already has.

 
2013-06-24 01:57:12 PM

El_Perro: WhoIsWillo: DamnYankees: I'm not really sure how this is unconstitutional.

The argument that is being made is that it is the first amendment right of abortion protestors to make their message heard directly outside of the clinic. If I were arguing the case, I would point out that it is designed to protect one specific form of patient, and is therefore politically motivated to limit a specific kind of speech.

Yup.  Basically the same issue as Madsen v. Women's Health Center (2004), which upheld a 36-foot buffer while striking down a 300-foot buffer.  The vote on the 36-foot buffer was 6-3, with Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy in dissent.  Not hard to imagine that Alito and Roberts may join those three, and the fact that the Court even took the case (where the lower court was aligned with the SCOTUS decision from less than 20 years ago) may suggest that at least one of them already has.


Interesting.
 
2013-06-24 02:02:42 PM

El_Perro: Yup.  Basically the same issue as Madsen v. Women's Health Center (2004), which upheld a 36-foot buffer while striking down a 300-foot buffer.  The vote on the 36-foot buffer was 6-3, with Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy in dissent.  Not hard to imagine that Alito and Roberts may join those three, and the fact that the Court even took the case (where the lower court was aligned with the SCOTUS decision from less than 20 years ago) may suggest that at least one of them already has.


I'm too lazy to read the decision in that case right now, but what was their rationale? I understand the concept of "free speech zones" is anathema to some, but zoning laws don't let you sell your constitutionally protected porn within 500 yards of schools, or put up election signs within 100 yards of a polling place, so what's the problem with saying "yeah, you can say what you want, just not within 100 yards of their door?"

P.S. - in case it wasn't clear, I made up those numbers, so don't yell at me for being wrong.
 
2013-06-24 02:03:08 PM
Meh, people have a right to privacy for health care under HIPAA, and in a way, (in my own opinion and it's only my opinion) those protesters are violating peoples right of health care privacy.
 
2013-06-24 02:11:25 PM

nmrsnr: El_Perro: Yup.  Basically the same issue as Madsen v. Women's Health Center (2004), which upheld a 36-foot buffer while striking down a 300-foot buffer.  The vote on the 36-foot buffer was 6-3, with Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy in dissent.  Not hard to imagine that Alito and Roberts may join those three, and the fact that the Court even took the case (where the lower court was aligned with the SCOTUS decision from less than 20 years ago) may suggest that at least one of them already has.

I'm too lazy to read the decision in that case right now, but what was their rationale? I understand the concept of "free speech zones" is anathema to some, but zoning laws don't let you sell your constitutionally protected porn within 500 yards of schools, or put up election signs within 100 yards of a polling place, so what's the problem with saying "yeah, you can say what you want, just not within 100 yards of their door?"


The distance was bigger than needed. The state's interest is in protecting the physical safety of patients, not in protecting them from hearing someone call them a dirty whore babykiller. 300 feet would make it tough to insult someone without significant amplification, while 35 feet is fine to keep you safely out of spitting range.

But as El Perro notes, they took this case because apparently enough of the court now thinks that patients should get assaulted.
 
2013-06-24 02:11:58 PM

nmrsnr: El_Perro: Yup.  Basically the same issue as Madsen v. Women's Health Center (2004), which upheld a 36-foot buffer while striking down a 300-foot buffer.  The vote on the 36-foot buffer was 6-3, with Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy in dissent.  Not hard to imagine that Alito and Roberts may join those three, and the fact that the Court even took the case (where the lower court was aligned with the SCOTUS decision from less than 20 years ago) may suggest that at least one of them already has.

I'm too lazy to read the decision in that case right now, but what was their rationale? I understand the concept of "free speech zones" is anathema to some, but zoning laws don't let you sell your constitutionally protected porn within 500 yards of schools, or put up election signs within 100 yards of a polling place, so what's the problem with saying "yeah, you can say what you want, just not within 100 yards of their door?"

P.S. - in case it wasn't clear, I made up those numbers, so don't yell at me for being wrong.



I haven't read the case in a while (and am too lazy to pull it up now), but it was based on a line of cases that allows for the imposition of "time, place and manner" limitations on speech, so long as the restrictions are content neutral, serve a significant government interest (could be wrong about the "significant" wording), are narrowly-tailored to serve that interest, and leave open other means of communication.  It's a pretty flexible standard, so different distance requirements may be OK or not OK depending on the context.  (also, things like pornography are often not protected by the First Amendment in any event)

I don't think there's anything wrong with the rule, and I think it's consistent with current caselaw.  The dissenters in Madsen thought the 36-foot rule didn't meet the time/place/manner standard, as they thought it was overly broad and not content-neutral (since, practically, the only people affected were anti-abortion protesters).
 
2013-06-24 02:15:19 PM
You have no first amendment right to engage anyone in conversation, you have no first amendment right to bully or harass.

Massachusetts doesn't have this law for fun, they have it because one of these "right to life" second amendment warriors murdered two receptionists in Brookline.
 
2013-06-24 02:16:25 PM
Well, look on the bright side. If one of these protestors assaults a patient on their way into the place, you know what that means?

Free abortion!
 
2013-06-24 02:17:40 PM
SCOTUSblog has a post about this case here.   I had forgotten about Hill v. Colorado, which upheld a law that prohibited protesters from coming within 8 feet of a person entering a clinic (within 100 feet of the clinic).  Also 6-3, also with Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy in dissent.
 
2013-06-24 02:19:04 PM
If the town can set up a 500 foot no stripper zone around churches and schools, it surely can set up a 35 foot no idiot zone around abortion clinics.

The strippers are even hidden from view inside a building in all, while the idiots are right out in the open.  I don't want my kids exposed to that kind of hate.  Think of the children.
 
2013-06-24 02:23:55 PM

what_now: Massachusetts doesn't have this law for fun, they have it because one of these "right to life" second amendment warriors murdered two receptionists in Brookline.


To be fair, a "no trespassing" sign won't stop someone who's intent on murdering people, so while that might have been the impetus for the law, it's not a particularly good reason to keep it. Not letting assholes harass emotionally vulnerable people is, though.

Theaetetus:
El_Perro:


Thanks.
 
2013-06-24 02:27:58 PM

DamnYankees: I'm not really sure how this is unconstitutional.


Because Christianity is oppressed, didn't you know that?
 
2013-06-24 02:31:13 PM

Aarontology: Well, look on the bright side. If one of these protestors assaults a patient on their way into the place, you know what that means?

Free abortion!


OMG I hate you for cracking me up like that!
 
2013-06-24 02:39:37 PM
Isn't this the same rationale they use for "free speech zones" all over the place?
 
2013-06-24 02:43:38 PM

Lsherm: Isn't this the same rationale they use for "free speech zones" all over the place?


To protect groups routinely targeted for long term harassment and violence from crazy people?  How's that?
 
2013-06-24 02:47:45 PM
They can practice free speech all they want - in organized protests that do not threaten individuals receiving constitutionally-allowed medical care.
 
2013-06-24 02:47:47 PM
What conversation? People who are not the pregnant woman in question and her doctor are not part of the conversation if she does not want them to be. End of story.
 
2013-06-24 02:47:47 PM
If the 100 foot electioneering buffer zone is constitutional (that's the limit in Maryland, not sure about Massachusetts), then surely this 35 foot buffer zone is also constitutional. 35 feet is still within shouting distance, that's good enough.
 
2013-06-24 02:48:49 PM
but protesters aren't allowed to stand outside the SCOTUS doors and scream at the justices as they enter and leave are they?

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/supreme-court-issues-n ew -rule-barring-protests-on-plaza/?_r=0
 
2013-06-24 02:50:02 PM
I'm not normally a fan of Stand Your Ground laws, but what a delightful irony it would be if a person with a concealed weapon came out of a clinic, started feeling threatened, and blew all the protesters away.  Watch the right-wing pundit heads assplode with confusion.
 
2013-06-24 02:51:12 PM
So they're basically saying they have a constitutional right to harass people and get up in their face?
 
2013-06-24 02:51:37 PM

nmrsnr: El_Perro: Yup.  Basically the same issue as Madsen v. Women's Health Center (2004), which upheld a 36-foot buffer while striking down a 300-foot buffer.  The vote on the 36-foot buffer was 6-3, with Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy in dissent.  Not hard to imagine that Alito and Roberts may join those three, and the fact that the Court even took the case (where the lower court was aligned with the SCOTUS decision from less than 20 years ago) may suggest that at least one of them already has.

I'm too lazy to read the decision in that case right now, but what was their rationale? I understand the concept of "free speech zones" is anathema to some, but zoning laws don't let you sell your constitutionally protected porn within 500 yards of schools, or put up election signs within 100 yards of a polling place, so what's the problem with saying "yeah, you can say what you want, just not within 100 yards of their door?"

P.S. - in case it wasn't clear, I made up those numbers, so don't yell at me for being wrong.


Because Jesus hath decreed abortions to be illegal.
 
2013-06-24 02:52:48 PM

what_now: You have no first amendment right to engage anyone in conversation, you have no first amendment right to bully or harass.

Massachusetts doesn't have this law for fun, they have it because one of these "right to life" second amendment warriors murdered two receptionists in Brookline.


This. The law has nothing to do with stifling the right to protest, and everything to do with keeping religious extremists from assaulting and killing people. 35 feet is plenty close enough to wave huge placards of aborted fetuses and scream Bible quotes & epithets at people either doing their jobs or getting help.
 
2013-06-24 02:53:38 PM
The Planned Parenthood on Commonwealth Ave is basically on BU's Campus. I can't tell you how many times I walked down the street trying to get to class, and had some asshat yell at me about my baby.
 
2013-06-24 02:53:57 PM
Question: Are abortion clinics privately owned and operated?
 
2013-06-24 02:55:31 PM

basemetal: Meh, people have a right to privacy for health care under HIPAA, and in a way, (in my own opinion and it's only my opinion) those protesters are violating peoples right of health care privacy.


This is what I was thinking.
 
2013-06-24 02:55:35 PM
 
2013-06-24 02:56:38 PM
There's a PP in Davis Square that does consultations and prescriptions. No abortions, no exams, just a place for women to get information, a hand full of condoms, and fill a script.

When it opened, I was walking down the street to the burrito joint and some lady got in my face about the "abortion mill" that had just opened. I calmly explained to her that this location didn't do any exams or procedures and she hissed "JESUS CAN SEE YOU!!!1".

I still don't know what she meant by that. Was Jesus angry that I was searching for a delicious burrito? In my defense, the falafel place wasn't opened yet.
 
2013-06-24 02:56:42 PM
I get in trouble with both sides on this.

Freedom of speech is that you can say something to someone else without government interference. You can't do it anywhere, like you can't break into someone's house to tell them something and say it was protected for freedom of speech, nor do you have a right to force it on others, or to interfere in what they are doing.

This is not restricting what someone can say. Just making it so they can't interfere with others going about their business.
 
2013-06-24 02:57:31 PM

DamnYankees: I'm not really sure how this is unconstitutional.


Consider Snyder v. Phelps.  SCOTUS not only stated that the Westboro Baptist Church has a right to spew hatred (sure why not), they stated they have a right to do it at a funeral.  I think that's unreasonable, but this is a similar case.  If "free speech" means you can harass others with it, then I'd say these buffer laws are going down.
 
2013-06-24 02:57:37 PM
No, the Supreme Court will consider whether it's possible for an opinion to be so reprehensible you can legislate where it's ok to express it.

/ pro-abortion, but we don't need "free-speech zones" to spread to surround private buildings too--public is bad enough.
 
2013-06-24 03:00:20 PM

DarnoKonrad: DamnYankees: I'm not really sure how this is unconstitutional.

Consider Snyder v. Phelps.  SCOTUS not only stated that the Westboro Baptist Church has a right to spew hatred (sure why not), they stated they have a right to do it at a funeral.  I think that's unreasonable, but this is a similar case.  If "free speech" means you can harass others with it, then I'd say these buffer laws are going down.


IIRC, SCOTUS ruled that they can protest, but they can't be in the cemetery itself if the cemetery didn't let them in, nor could they prohibit the business of the cemetery- they can't stand in front of the hearse or the people trying to get in.

  The same thing would apply here I assume.
 
2013-06-24 03:00:38 PM

efgeise: Question: Are abortion clinics privately owned and operated?


Answer: this is irrelevant, because the issue here is regarding protests on public sidewalks and streets. If abortion clinics all had giant lawns and fences and private access ways, this wouldn't be an issue*.

*Of course it would, they'd be clustered around the gate and block cars from entering
 
2013-06-24 03:00:54 PM

what_now: The Planned Parenthood on Commonwealth Ave is basically on BU's Campus. I can't tell you how many times I walked down the street trying to get to class, and had some asshat yell at me about my baby.


You should totally troll those people with dozens of fake baby bumps walking in and not coming out to smiles and high fives.  Issue little punch cards where you get a free abortion after your first 5.
 
2013-06-24 03:01:21 PM

Hobodeluxe: but protesters aren't allowed to stand outside the SCOTUS doors and scream at the justices as they enter and leave are they?

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/supreme-court-issues-n ew -rule-barring-protests-on-plaza/?_r=0


Yes that would be very hypocritical then.
 
2013-06-24 03:01:46 PM
FTFA:

Abortion opponents who regularly stand outside clinics in Boston, Worcester and Springfield claimed the law unfairly keeps them from engaging patients in conversations at a closer distance.

So by this logic, is it unfair that the protestors don't get to have a kiosk inside the clinic for engaging patients.
 
2013-06-24 03:01:57 PM

what_now: DarnoKonrad: DamnYankees: I'm not really sure how this is unconstitutional.

Consider Snyder v. Phelps.  SCOTUS not only stated that the Westboro Baptist Church has a right to spew hatred (sure why not), they stated they have a right to do it at a funeral.  I think that's unreasonable, but this is a similar case.  If "free speech" means you can harass others with it, then I'd say these buffer laws are going down.

IIRC, SCOTUS ruled that they can protest, but they can't be in the cemetery itself if the cemetery didn't let them in, nor could they prohibit the business of the cemetery- they can't stand in front of the hearse or the people trying to get in.

  The same thing would apply here I assume.



depends on how close the public sidewalk is.
 
2013-06-24 03:02:29 PM

DarnoKonrad: DamnYankees: I'm not really sure how this is unconstitutional.

Consider Snyder v. Phelps.  SCOTUS not only stated that the Westboro Baptist Church has a right to spew hatred (sure why not), they stated they have a right to do it at a funeral.  I think that's unreasonable, but this is a similar case.  If "free speech" means you can harass others with it, then I'd say these buffer laws are going down.


The court's opinion also stated that the memorial service was not disturbed, saying, "Westboro stayed well away from the memorial service, Snyder could see no more than the tops of the picketers' signs, and there is no indication that the picketing interfered with the funeral service itself."

I'd bet they were at least 35 feet away.
 
2013-06-24 03:02:41 PM
Hurray for strict scrutiny!
 
2013-06-24 03:02:49 PM
Abortion opponents who regularly stand outside clinics in Boston, Worcester and Springfield claimed the law unfairly keeps them from engaging patients in conversations at a closer distance.

Sorry guys, your Freedom of Speech isn't being infringed. You aren't able to talk when they still have to pass youfrom 35 feet? They still have to walk past you jackalopes.
 
2013-06-24 03:05:28 PM
"Abortion opponents who regularly stand outside clinics in Boston, Worcester and Springfield claimed the law unfairly keeps them from engaging patients in conversations at a closer distance. "

Should we bring the argument to your home instead?
 
2013-06-24 03:06:58 PM

coeyagi: I'm not normally a fan of Stand Your Ground laws, but what a delightful irony it would be if a person with a concealed weapon came out of a clinic, started feeling threatened, and blew all the protesters away.  Watch the right-wing pundit heads assplode with confusion.


I'm glad I read through the thread first because I was going to post roughly the same thing.

Protestor: "We're pro-life...... AND WE WILL KILL YOUR ASS!!!!"

*BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM*

Clinic patient:  "Standing my ground, biiiiii-YOTCH!"
 
2013-06-24 03:08:11 PM
I never got any flak when I went for mine, but my stepdad about knocked someone out when he took my mother in. The guy kept getting in my mother's way, and said, "I thought whores spent all their time on their backs." This was early 00s, Los Angeles, so I can't imagine what women go through in less progressive parts of the country.

You have the right to say whatever you want, but not wherever you want, just like you can scream "Fire!" but not in a movie theatre.
 
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