The Supreme Court will decide in McCullen v. Coakley whether a Massachusetts statute prohibiting speech within 35-feet of a reproductive health care facility violates the First Amendment. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief in this case. From the perspective of the Massachusetts legislature, no good deed goes unpunished.
Massachusetts law, which was modeled around a Colorado statute the Court held constitutional, initially allowed protesters to come within six feet of those entering a clinic within an 18-foot buffer zone around the clinic. Protesters would crowd six feet from a clinic door making entry into the clinic difficult and intimidating. So in 2007 Massachusetts adopted a 35-foot fixed buffer zone around clinics. The First Circuit held that this statute is a constitutional time, place, and manner regulation of speech because numerous communication channels remain available to protesters.