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View Diary: Reporters: Most Supreme Court justices view Massachusetts' abortion clinic buffer zones skeptically (302 comments)

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  •  Have you had to enter & leave your doctor's (14+ / 0-)

    office with these people monitoring you, watching you, pointing their graphic signs at you...just because your doctor's office happens to be in the same building as Planned Parenthood? A building armed to the teeth with cameras, alarms, security doors, etc.--an obstacle course patients had to navigate to receive medical care. I have, and I always had trouble getting a normal blood pressure reading when I was inside. These 'protesters' are part of an organized, decades-old campaign to terrorize women and those who provide them medical care, to intimidate us into not seeking needed medical care, and to violate our privacy.

    No 'panhandler' has ever made me feel unsafe. I willingly give money to people in need.

    Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

    by earicicle on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 02:54:19 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  No I haven't (5+ / 0-)

      And like I said, these people are scum. That doesn't change the fact that legal rights are legal rights. I've lived in more than one place that has tried to restrict panhandlers for exactly the same reason, that they made people feel unsafe. It sounds like some of these people are assaulting people who go to the clinics, that's its own crime and needs to be prosecuted as such. But that's different than free speech and telling people what you believe, even if they don't want to hear it.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 02:59:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If a protester gets in a patient's face (6+ / 0-)

        say in Florida where there are a lot of anti-abortion protesters, would she be within her rights to stand her ground and blow the pest away with her firearm because she feels threatened by the pest's actions?

        Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

        by arlene on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 04:25:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In Florida I'd bet that depends on the race (6+ / 0-)

          of both people. Based on what I've seen.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 04:29:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You can pass laws against (7+ / 0-)

          blocking the doorway to the clinic.  You can pass laws against physical intimidation.  You can pass laws against physical contact.  In most places, those laws already exist.

          What you generally cannot do is pass laws against people saying horrible or insulting things to other people while they are on a public sidewalk.

          •  Difference between passing a law and enforcing it (8+ / 0-)

            I was active in the movement in suburban Illinois in the 1980's when the Pro-Life Action League was in business.  We could not count on the police to respond to our complaints.  We had a rally in Park Ridge and sure enough, the lifers showed up to break up our rally as the leader with the megaphone stated.  

            We called the police, flagged down a passing patrol car and were ignored each time.  We finally walked to the police station and held our rally on their steps.  The police came out and chased all  but three of the protesters away because they didn't have a permit to assemble and we did.

            The pattern of non-enforcement is what led to the buffer zones around free-standing clinics.

            Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

            by arlene on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 05:25:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's a problem with enforcement (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Justanothernyer, VClib

              and that means you hold public officials, like those responsible for law enforcement, accountable.  The fact that law enforcement is not doing its job is not grounds for violating the First Amendment.  

              And I suspect that SOME buffer zone will survive, but it will be far narrower than 35 feet (even Justice Kagan was disturbed by that).  That 35 feet is clearly meant to prevent women entering the clinic from hearing what the people standing on the sidewalk had to say, and government can't do that under the First Amendment.  I suspect it will still be permissible to create a much smaller buffer zone (a few feet, perhaps -- close enough to be heard but enough distance so you can't block anybody).  

          •  Women should not have to be subjected to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            earicicle

            Assholes harassing and intimidating them at close range. This law was likely passed to address a continuing pattern of conduct which included threatening and harassing behavior. There was a compelling reason in other words. It's very easy to say that laws already exist to protect women, but is it really practical to say police can respond to every case of someone shouting or shaking a fist at women trying to exercise their right to healthcare? Is it really too much of a burden to provide a buffer zone around a woman entering a clinic, especially in view of historic patterns of emotional and physical harassment?
            In fact, why do the protesters have a protected right to communicate with a specific person versus the public in general? And to communicate with the public, they can be outside a reasonable buffer zone.

            •  Because the government CANNOT constitutionally (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib

              pass laws that protect us --while we are in public -- from being subjected to speech we find offensive.   We can choose to ignore it, to reply, or to walk away into some private space where we don't have to be subjected to the free speech of others.  But none of us have the "right" not to be subjected, in public areas, to speech that we find offensive.  

        •  Now you know women (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Old Sailor

          who go to Planned Parenthood clinics would have no right whatsoever to defend herslf from violent pro-life protesters using the SYG Law.

          Where is that snark tag?

          Seriously though---some pro-life protesters have thrown acid-

          http://supremebystandr.com/...

          And the closer the high court allows these violent ideologues to get...............the more dangerous it becomes.

          "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

          by lyvwyr101 on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 08:59:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  You can pass laws against intimidation. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, kyril, Pi Li, Justanothernyer, VClib

      But "intimidation" has to be a threat of physical violence for it to be made illegal.

      You cannot pass laws against people saying horrible or insulting things to you while you are on a public sidewalk.  

      •  You are correct but you can sue them (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tonedevil, lyvwyr101

        and oppose their insults right back and ask for names and write down what ever name they give you and you can talk back and then there is a public distrubance and that is against the law.   Judges will get mighty tired of disturbing the peace cases.

        We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

        by Vetwife on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 05:33:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can't sue somebody (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li, Justanothernyer, VClib

          for insulting you while you are both on a public sidewalk.  

          And a person is talking to you and YOU escalate it to a public disturbance because you don't like what they are saying, YOU will be arrested.  

          •  YOU being an attorney know you can sue (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Old Sailor, lyvwyr101, Tonedevil

            anybody.Defamation of character comes to mind.   Winning is another matter but YOU can sue anyone...
            sorry I wouldn't hire you to represent me in any matter I can think of and for the record...I have never sued anyone for money but every suit I brought  in other matters.. I won.

            We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

            by Vetwife on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 03:46:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  When I said you couldn't sue (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib

              I meant you couldn't likely couldn't bring a legitimate claim.  If the claim is deemed frivolous -- as something like that may well be -- you would have to pay the attorney's fees of the party you sued as the sanction for bringing a frivolous claim.

              Even under laws like Defamation of Character, you can only sue if the person said something objectively provable as false and factually incorrect.  "I think you are a slut" is not actionable. Even "you are a slut" is probably not actionable, because "slut" is a opinion -- it's not an objectively defined term.  Things like "you are a convicted felon" might be defamation of character if (1) it's demonstrably untrue -- i.e., you can prove you have never been convicted of a felony; and (2)  it's also published in a way that violates defamation laws.

              But things that these people say -- like "you're killing your baby" or "you're sinning" or "we are praying you see how wrong you are" can not possibly be defamation of character because they are all opinion-based.  

              •  Will I be... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Old Sailor, lyvwyr101, Vetwife

                in the clear legally when I get in their face and scream "your mother sucks clocks in hell"? Can I be close enough as I yell that they can feel my breath in their face?

                This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

                by Tonedevil on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 10:02:06 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Tonedevil - if it's true (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pi Li, Tonedevil

                  Truth is always a viable defense. However, I wouldn't make your statements about someone's parents. Keep the subject to the person you are talking to and keep it to opinions, unless they are facts you can prove.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 12:10:18 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't see how... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lyvwyr101, Vetwife, Old Sailor

                    "your mother sucks cocks in hell" is a provable or disprovable statement any more than "you are going to hell for getting an abortion". Understand my only concern is the legality so I am strongly questioning if making a statement involving parents in the way I have described has any bearing on that.
                    I feel that "you are going to hell for getting an abortion" and "your mother sucks cocks in hell" are statements likely to incite physical retaliation and the person using them bears some responsibility for the resulting mayhem.  

                    This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

                    by Tonedevil on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 12:55:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Hmmmm... Someone tells me You are a whore (0+ / 0-)

                and going to burn in Hell.... I would say PROVE IT.
                Burden of proof lies where?   If it would be me... then I could prove I was NOT a whore and according to their own belief they would have to back up on judging. Frivolous lawsuit or not.

                We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

                by Vetwife on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 03:30:29 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Physical intimidation was the reason for the law (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sweatyb, earicicle, Old Sailor, lyvwyr101

        in MA.  What's the difference in terms of security risk between clinics and the NYSE, political conventions, international trade conventions, congressional buildings, or the Supreme Court itself?

        The priest said, "Today's sermon is called 'Liars', but first I have a question. How many of you have read Chapter 66 in Matthew?" Nearly every hand went up. "You're just the group I need to speak to," the priest said. "There's no such chapter."

        by Back In Blue on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 06:15:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's why the 35 feet is a problem for (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          people like Justice Kagan, I think.

          If the LAW was directed ONLY physical intimidation, the buffer zone would be 5 or 6 feet -- close enough to be heard very easily, but not close enough to easily get physical.  A buffer zone of 35 feet looks a lot like the law is trying to prevent the women entering the clinic from hearing the protesters very well unless they shout.  It looks like it's more directed to the speech than any physical intimidation.  

          •  The security risk is still there. (4+ / 0-)

            35 feet is reasonable to me to protect people from physical harm, especially considering the CO law requiring 8 feet of distance from individuals was completely ineffective and also a driver of the MA law.  

            Besides that, why do politicians, business execs, and other masters of the universe get to enter their buildings without even seeing let alone hearing the protestors but women seeking medical care must be able to hear anti-abortion protesters "very well".  

            By the way, they are shouting whether they are 35 feet away, 5 feet away, or in your face.

            The priest said, "Today's sermon is called 'Liars', but first I have a question. How many of you have read Chapter 66 in Matthew?" Nearly every hand went up. "You're just the group I need to speak to," the priest said. "There's no such chapter."

            by Back In Blue on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 07:37:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Physical intimidation is *not* the only kind of (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Back In Blue, Old Sailor, Tonedevil

            intimidation. Especially for patients seeking medical care, some of whom--by definition--may be especially vulnerable because of their medical condition. Not every patient at a medical office is a healthy, brazen, recreational/elective abortion-seeking Amazon in peak physical condition, ready and able to confront psychological & verbal harassment from whackjobs within spitting distance. Some of us might be cancer patients, for example.

            FYI.

            Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

            by earicicle on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 08:29:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But physical intimidation is the only kind of (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib

              intimidation that the government can outlaw.

              If I make a credible threat of physical force against you, the government can outlaw that.

              If -- on the public streets -- I call you horrible names, or personally insult you, or say horrible things to you ("You are a slut, you are going to burn in hell, you are killing your baby) the government cannot outlaw that in public areas generally open to free speech, like public sidewalks.

        •  It went beyond intimidation- (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, Old Sailor

          http://supremebystandr.com/...

          In 1994, John Salvi shot and killed two women, and injured 5 others, at two abortion clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts.

          "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

          by lyvwyr101 on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 09:07:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  "Intimidation has to be a threat of physical (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Sailor

        violence for it to be made illegal." Jeebus: Where the hell did you go to law school? I hope you don't have any domestic violence clients.

        Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

        by earicicle on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 08:33:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  earicicle -the discussion is about First Amendment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li

          issues, and the body of First Amendment law around what should be a reasonable barrier for protesters. It's not about domestic violence, a very separate body of law. But you know that.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 12:14:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  intimidation (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        earicicle, Old Sailor, lyvwyr101

        Does not necessarily mean overt threat of violence.

        If I stand too close to you, even if I don't touch you, I can make you fear. Eight feet is close enough for a police officer to use force when threatened. Intimidation is thugery.

        Provocation allows for retaliation in self defense but what of the defenseless?  Those protesters provoke people and think if you were some kid trying to help anyone, even if it were his sister, and those people get up in your face?

        Kids like that are meat to the protesters. Lawsuit waiting to happen. They can even subpoena the clinic's footage of the incident.

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