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POV: Why Supreme Court’s “Buffer Zone” Decision Is Wrong

LAW prof says decision underscores difficulty of balancing fundamental rights

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Not often does the US Supreme Court focus in your backyard, but that happened last Friday when it struck down the Massachusetts law creating “buffer zones” around reproductive health facilities. This legal battle started as a weekly street brawl between anti-abortion protestors and employees and patients at the Planned Parenthood health center on the western edge of the BU campus. McCullen v. Coakley gives a victory, albeit a limited one, to the anti-abortion protestors who have fought against buffer zones since they were first created 14 years ago. This law—and the Court’s decision—is not about abortion, but how difficult balancing fundamental rights is for legislatures and courts.

Protests at reproductive health centers have been a reality since Roe v. Wade. Although McCullen focuses on the activities of “sidewalk counselors” who claim they engage patients in “quiet and gentle” conversations, there are other protestors who seek to block clinic doors and driveways, to harass patients and employees, and to disrupt the clinic’s work with noise and commotion. Some resort to murder; in 1994 John Salvi attacked two Boston area clinics, killing two young women and injuring several others.

A buffer zone is meant to push the abortion debate away from the entrances to clinics. These zones are possible because the First Amendment is not absolute—the government can restrict speech through reasonable time, place, and manner regulations. So long as the law does not assist one side of an argument (is “content-neutral”), the government does not have to find the least restrictive regulations possible, but it still may not burden more speech than is necessary to further the government’s goals. In this case, the government has several legitimate goals: ensuring public safety, promoting the free flow of traffic on streets and sidewalks, and protecting a women’s right to seek reproductive health care. How narrow the restrictions must be is the tricky part.

Massachusetts legislators took this balancing between speech and public safety very seriously. In fact, many of the Legislature’s strongest reproductive rights supporters are also the staunchest defenders of free speech. In 2000, the Senate passed a 25-foot fixed zone around clinic doors that protestors could not enter, legislation the state Supreme Judicial Court found constitutional. In an attempt to burden less speech, the Legislature ultimately settled on a buffer zone where “counselors” could come within six feet of a patient if the patient gave permission. This compromise was modeled on a Colorado law the US Supreme Court had recently found constitutional. This law, however, was nearly impossible to enforce; patients still felt harassed, and protestors rarely knew when or if they were breaking the law. In 2007, when Attorney General Coakley and police officials asked for changes, lawmakers created a 35-foot bright-line—literally painted on the sidewalk—that protestors could not cross.

Did the Supreme Court make the right decision in striking down this buffer zone? In my opinion, no. The original law attempted to restrict as little speech as possible, and it did not work. The Legislature made another good faith effort to create a narrow solution that met a persistent public safety problem. The court claimed there were alternative methods for preventing clinic obstruction and obvious harassment, which Chief Justice Roberts claimed was “anything but subtle” in the case of abortion. That is not true—harassment can be quite subtle when leaflets and “quiet counseling” include the words “sinner,” “baby-killer,” and “Hell.” Women should be able to meet with a doctor without being shadowed by either “counselors” or “escorts” and having the emotional abortion debate rage around them as they make their way to the door. The police should not be left to guess who has violated a six-foot “bubble,” who is being harassed, and who is being “counseled.” The court should have given Massachusetts lawmakers more deference, given that they had first tried a less restrictive approach and it was ineffective.

This decision is not the complete victory anti-abortion protestors sought. By finding the statute content-neutral, the court leaves open the possibility for the Legislature to craft a new buffer zone—which is likely before the end of the summer. Once again, lawmakers will balance important rights and hope they have found the right solution for when the law is again challenged and the court again passes judgment.

Sean J. Kealy is a clinical associate professor of law and the director of legislative clinics at the School of Law. He previously served as legal counsel to the Massachusetts Legislature’s Criminal Justice Committee, which created the original Buffer Zone Law in 2000. He can be reached at skealy@bu.edu.

“POV” is an opinion page that provides timely commentaries from students, faculty, and staff on a variety of issues: on-campus, local, state, national, or international. Anyone interested in submitting a piece, which should be about 700 words long, should contact Rich Barlow at barlowr@bu.edu.

48 Comments

48 Comments on POV: Why Supreme Court’s “Buffer Zone” Decision Is Wrong

  • Lynne Noll on 07.02.2014 at 6:22 am

    If you define harassment as handing out a leaflet, with no words directed right at the person, you pretty much prove out the Supreme Court’s decision.

    I support abortion rights, and regret the gauntlet a woman has to face, same as I regret people who demonstrate at funerals of people not even related to their cause. (Which comes a lot closer to harassment to me.) But handling out a preprinted leaflet with emotion laden words seems like the definition of free speech.

    • Johnson on 07.02.2014 at 11:46 am

      Every thing has +ve and -ve, I understand. But we have to stop the greater wrong where children are killed in womb cause they can’t be take care. This has to be addressed first then later take care of the same women is getting embarrassed looking at a pamplate(why is also wrong to an extent).

    • mph on 07.02.2014 at 12:37 pm

      Except thats not what they’re doing. Prior to the buffer zone, patients and employees would be screamed at, filmed, and followed. Doctors would get death threats, and these so called ‘peaceful protesters’ would take pictures of their licenses. The people who protest everyday belong to the same group responsible for the violence that happened at this clinic years before the buffer zone.

  • Andrew Wolfe on 07.02.2014 at 7:53 am

    The court was unanimous, 9-0, that the law you helped write was unconstitutional.

    • Sean Kealy on 07.02.2014 at 8:53 pm

      Actually, the law I helped write would have been Constitutional according to Hill v. Colorado. The 2007 law was unconstitutional.

  • CAS55 on 07.02.2014 at 8:14 am

    Especially stunning was the majority’s naive acceptance of “sidewalk counseling”. My wife was a clinic director for 15 years – and national chair of NARAL – and we experienced “counseling” and accompanying violence outside the clinic every week and at our home. There are buffer zones imposed in many circumstances for public safety, including at the Supreme Court. While I know that a new ordinance will be created in this state, the ruling is not a victory for free speech but a license for abuse to women and those who accompany them, as well as for possible violence.

    • IHD on 07.02.2014 at 11:06 am

      Yes, only people who have experienced first hand working or using the services know the complete truth. Shame on the Supreme Court for endangering women’s and children’s lives so much. Abortion will not stop, it will only take more lives if it becomes illegal. Just go ask your grandparents or people who have lived through those times!

  • Johnson on 07.02.2014 at 9:13 am

    Well one who can’t control there senses, and later killing or technically called aborting there own unborn child.
    And other getting enraged with that and start to call them names , both are wrong.

    We have teach both are wrong, But start with aborters then come to name callers, it is responsibility of the government.

    • Anonymous on 07.02.2014 at 9:46 am

      Johnson,

      Planned Parenthood clinics do a lot more than provide abortions. They provide access to contraceptives, women’s health services, std testing, etc. and are generally a good resource for women to get information about sexual health. A woman who is getting an abortion does not deserve to be shamed either, but these “sidewalk counselors” assume that everyone who enters a clinic is seeking an abortion and that is simply not the case.

      • Peter on 07.02.2014 at 10:50 am

        Planned Parenthood claims its business is “women’s healthcare,” but its recent award certificate to a Colorado abortion clinic for “exceeding abortion visits [in the] first half of FY12 compared to the first half of FY13,” affirms that its most valued business is abortion.

        Last year, Planned Parenthood reported a net revenue of $1.21 billion, and received $540.6 million in U.S. taxpayer funding.

        • Name on 07.02.2014 at 1:41 pm

          Peter,

          > Last year, Planned Parenthood reported a net revenue of $1.21 billion, and received $540.6 million in U.S. taxpayer funding.

          This is correct. A quick look at their Annual Review for FY 2013 (http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/7413/9620/1089/AR-FY13_111213_vF_rev3_ISSUU.pdf), which I’m sure is where you are getting you information from, does indeed state your figures on page 18.

          However, I think it’s quite valuable to also quote another figure, from page 14. Of all procedures performed at PP centers across the country, only 3% were abortions (327,166). Which sort of diminishes the assertion that “its most valued business is abortion.”

          I seriously doubt the authenticity of that photograph circling the web of that “certificate”. It’s source is a blog for an anti-abortion religious organization which claims to provide support for people wishing to leave the “abortion industry”. “Revealing” something like this might make many employees think doubt the motivations of PP, so it’s a good tactic.

          However, I could be wrong about it’s authenticity, but until I see a legitimate source reporting on this and tracing its origin, I will remain doubtful.

          • Peter on 07.02.2014 at 2:51 pm

            About 92% of pregnant women arriving there will have an abortion. This is around 1/3 million per year. This does not include the drug induced abortions(Emergency Contraception kit) 1.59 million (2012/13)

            So we are looking at close to 2 million abortions/year

            For every adoption provided there will be 145 terminations. Which is unfortunate considering the demand for adoption.

          • Name on 07.03.2014 at 9:53 am

            > About 92% of pregnant women arriving there will have an abortion. This is around 1/3 million per year.

            Yes, this agrees with the 3% abortion figure I quoted earlier (it was about 1/3 of a million women). Are we supposed to be shocked that 92% of people who came into a clinic for a service actually go through with it? You should be focusing on that 8% that didn’t! PP counsels people before they see them to make sure they fully understand what will happen, and they even ask if they want to go through with it. An ultrasound is necessary for the procedure, and if the pregnancy is determined to be twins/multiples, it is a requirement to ask the patient if they want to know and inform them if they do. Most women change their minds at this point.

            > This does not include the drug induced abortions(Emergency Contraception kit) 1.59 million (2012/13)

            That’s because emergency contraception is generally administered when it is far too early to determine pregnancy. So no, we are not looking to close to 2 million a year, since we don’t know (and can’t know) how many of those women were pregnant.

            >For every adoption provided there will be 145 terminations. Which is unfortunate considering the demand for adoption.

            I agree that it is unfortunate that more children are not being adopted. But there are many, healthy children in orphanages who are still not adopted. There are many more troubling statistics about children who go unadopted here in the U.S. (http://www.ccainstitute.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=25&Itemid=43). With the number of kids that go unadopted, would we really want to add to that burden? Sure it’s certainly possible that many of these women could provide healthy, happy homes to these children if they had chosen to continue. But how many? Probably still a large portion of those nearly 1/3 of a million. A year.

            They chose to go to PP for a reason. They knew they potentially could not do that. So what’s worse? No life because it can’t be a good, loving one? Or potentially a lifetime of being stuck in the system?

            Not to mention that abortion rates have been falling (http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/study-abortion-rate-at-lowest-point-since-1973/2014/02/02/8dea007c-8a9b-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html) which is very good news. Women are subjected to harassment going into a clinic. Women suffer the pain of the procedure, if they choose to go ahead with it. Women suffer the shame should certain people find out, either way. And yes, a potential life is extinguished, and many women suffer the rest of their lives thinking about what could have been. But with better sex education, better & smarter use of contraceptives, we can prevent this. And it looks like its working. So if you let PP and other organizations continue to provide contraceptive and sex education resources, you won’t have to worry about abortion for long.

            That is, if people can stop demonizing the institution long enough.

  • Katrina on 07.02.2014 at 9:39 am

    Thank you for offering your opinion here, but I strongly disagree with you. I think that the supreme court made the correct decision not to limit free speech in this case. Think of an analogous situation – should PETA not be allowed to set foot with 35 feet of the entrance of a non-human primate facility?

    In the case of sidewalk counseling outside of an abortion clinic, this is the last opportunity to give a woman another option for her unwanted pregnancy. Over 50% of women report that they would not have chosen an abortion if they felt that they had a real option, and the sidewalk counselors want to make sure that the women are fully informed about adoption and parenting resources in their area.

    Sidewalk counselors also “self-police.” They are trained in reaching out to women with compassion. I have never once heard one of the words that you listed “sinner, baby-killer, or Hell” mentioned outside of a clinic, and someone used that tactic, another sidewalk counselor would ask them to stop. The pro-life movement has chosen non-violent tactics since the 1990′s in an effort to contrast with the violence against unborn babies that happens in the clinic.

    Please don’t villainize people who want to protect the unborn. To us, we are fighting the last major civil rights battle of our time.

    • Anonymous on 07.02.2014 at 11:25 am

      I walk past Planned Parenthood every weekday on my way to lab. For the record, I very strongly support Planned Parenthood, but am always very polite to the protesters outside and say “No thank you” when they try to hold me a pamphlet. I also always smile and look them in the eye when I say it, and sometime tell them to “have a nice day” when they continue to talk. Regardless, I have been yelled at for at least 50 feet as I continue to walk to work told that if I support Planned Parenthood (which technically nobody should be able to determine simply by not taking a pamphlet that I have been offered hundreds to thousands of times by now – even if I took one, I wouldn’t need it again) then I am “making Jesus cry,” “supporting murder,” and “going to Hell.” Again, I am simply walking past the building trying to mind my own business. I cannot imagine what women who actually go into the building have to deal with, especially on a Saturday morning, but I have no problem believing that they are using the words “sinner,” “baby-killer,” or “Hell” since they’ve pretty much all been used on me.

      • Andrew on 07.02.2014 at 12:45 pm

        I too walk by every day on my way to lab, and have not experienced any of what you’re referring to. Wonder why our experiences are so different. They’re just old people handing out pamphlets. Just shake your head and walk past, as you would to the people in Times Square handing out flyers.

        • Yoss on 07.02.2014 at 2:03 pm

          They rarely make comments to me, but I’ve heard those comments directed towards young women as I walk past.

        • Anonymous on 07.02.2014 at 2:08 pm

          Frankly, maybe it’s the difference between being male and female. Maybe it’s a difference of which people in particular are there and what time of day we each walk past – I can tell you exactly which one does the yelling and says all of the nasty things. The others are quite nice, and most of them have stopped trying to hand me things at all. There is another woman in particular who I exchange smiles with and say “Have a nice day.” But the fact remains that even if it is only one protester who is saying really nasty things to young women, it is a problem. And I’ve been told that it is significantly worse on Saturdays (though I cannot speak of that from experience).

    • Yoss on 07.02.2014 at 11:38 am

      “The last major civil rights battle of our time.” Meanwhile, gay people are still not able to be married, minorities go to jail more frequently and with harsher sentences for the same crime, and women still face discrimination in their professional lives. There are plenty of civil rights battles to fight, but yours isn’t one of them.

      As always, the pro life crowd proves itself to be more concerned with the abstract suffering of unborn ‘souls’ than with the real well being of living humans; more concerned with the rights of a clump of cells than the autonomy of a woman.

      • Sure on 07.02.2014 at 12:31 pm

        Abstract suffering? There is nothing abstract about it. Dismemberment is very painful and these are living humans. You may want to take 7th grade biology.

        A clump of cells in the birth canal and then “Presto” 2 minutes later it turns into a human baby! Magic.

        • Yoss on 07.02.2014 at 1:56 pm

          If you want science to adjudicate this debate, you won’t find it on your side. Pain doesn’t exist without a fully formed brain and the appropriate neural connections; fetuses don’t develop these connections until at least 24 weeks in (before the point at which abortions are generally classified as ‘late term’ and restricted except in extenuating circumstances))

          So yes perhaps you’re right, the suffering isn’t abstract: it’s nonexistent. The fetus is neither conscious of its own life or capable of feeling the sensation of pain at this point, therefore incapable of suffering.

          • Katrina on 07.02.2014 at 3:48 pm

            Hi Yoss, I am a graduate student in science and I think that science deserves a central role in the pro-life debate. Science is the clear mesaure that we can use to determine when a new human life has begun. Any other line that we draw uses an emotional argument. The major difference between most fetuses that get aborted and those who come to term is whether or not the fetus was wanted by his/her parents. This is not scientific at all. I know that pregnancies sometimes end in miscarriage, but some infants also die of SIDS, and we don’t advocate a mother’s right to choose not to take care of her baby.

            In terms of human rights, we may ask if personhood/ human rights begin when a new human life begins. Think of this analogy – a demolition crew is getting ready to demolish a building. Before they take it down, they find some evidence that a person is in the building. Isn’t the burden of proof on them to make sure that there is no person inside before they demolish the building?

            If you choose to be pro-choice, when do you think we should start protecting the unborn? Should we even protect infants?

          • Katrina on 07.02.2014 at 3:59 pm

            Hi Yoss, I am a graduate student in science and I think that science deserves a central role in the pro-life debate. Science has the clear mesaure that we can use to determine when a new human life has begun – a unique multiplying full set of chromosomes. Any other line that we draw uses an emotional argument. The major difference between most fetuses that get aborted and those who come to term is whether or not the fetus was wanted by his/her parents. An easy straw-man argument is that many pregnancies miscarry. But a natural death is different than one caused by another. The unique human life is ended during an abortion.

            In terms of human rights, we may ask if personhood/ human rights begin when a new human life begins. Science cannot answer this question. But, think of this analogy – a demolition crew is getting ready to demolish a building. Before they take it down, they find some evidence that a person is in the building. Isn’t the burden of proof on them to make sure that there is no person inside before they demolish the building?

            If you choose to be pro-choice, when do you think we should start protecting the unborn? Should we even protect infants who cannot care for themselves or recognize themselves in a mirror?

        • Anonymous on 07.02.2014 at 2:20 pm

          You may want to take some more science classes yourself. It is generally accepted by scientists that pain cannot be felt until the third trimester, and it certainly doesn’t happen by magic. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=201429

          • Human on 07.02.2014 at 4:00 pm

            A human is a human is a human is a human is a human!!

            No matter the stage of LIFE the child is in, he or she is a human being. It’s not as if everyone is wondering what those “cells” really are. Those “cells” are not going to magically (the reference to magic earlier was obviously sarcasm, by the way) transform into a rubber ducky. There is a human inside.

            Why are we discussing pain? Out of curiosity, if you were unconscious and anesthetized on an operating table, would it be right for someone to end YOUR life? At that moment, you are neither able to feel pain nor able to care for yourself. You are helpless and at the mercy (or not) of someone else. Do you cease to have the right to live? Does someone else have the right to end your life?

            In response to many of the other posts around this conversation, I am truly sorry that people have experienced protests in such negative ways. This is wrong. We are ALL sinners. Abortion, itself, focuses on the mother and doesn’t care about the child. It seems some of these protesters focus on the child and are not caring for the mother. Both are WRONG! Unfortunately, both go hand-in-hand with our dehumanizing culture. People are not valued by our culture anymore, whether in the home, on the street, or in the womb.

            Know that God did not abort us, even though we all turned against God. Jesus Christ gave HIS life in our place so that we could live in fellowship with God. Abortions were happening in Jesus’ day. There is no biblical record of Jesus preventing an abortion, but there are several accounts of Jesus bringing people back to life. Why? We sinners who are against God, what are we worth? Apparently, we are worth enough that God would come down in human form, live amongst sinners (the penalty for sin is death), love us, be killed in our place (taking our penalty upon himself), rise to life again, and offer life to those who trust in HIM for salvation. He chose life for us!

            CHOOSE LIFE!!!

  • Peter on 07.02.2014 at 10:05 am

    If such a physical barrier were to stand it would only signal that the state could go after all sort of dissent on public property. Revisit the Bundy ranch “First Amendment Area”.
    Kealy isn’t really concerned with our rights so much as an outcome that furthers his goal of normalizing infanticide.

  • John Baillieul on 07.02.2014 at 10:16 am

    I’m sure that a great many legal scholars agree with the clear reasoning you present about the tradeoff that must be made between free speech and public safety. Regrettably, the Supreme Court is now completely polarized, and despite the Chief Justice’s efforts to cover this up, there is a vicious right wing majority.

    • Peter on 07.02.2014 at 10:31 am

      As Benjamin Franklin once said: “Anyone who will trade freedom for security, deserves neither”.

    • Andrew on 07.02.2014 at 11:07 am

      Not only did the writer of the article not describe at all the trade off, but the Supreme Court unanimously voted on this, 9-0. The opposite of “polarized” and “vicious right wing majority.”

  • IHD on 07.02.2014 at 10:58 am

    To those of you who have never experienced actually being a patient to this clinic, I will have to completely disagree with you as you have NO IDEA what it’s like. They do NOT provide just pamphlets outside, the protesters yell in your face horrendous things that will stay with you for life and write down your license plate and take pictures of you to then follow and harass you! And you might not even go to Planned Parenthood for an abortion. And for those of us who did go for one, we are EDUCATED ADULTS, most of us even married women with children with a graduate degree who have thought very well of our decision and contemplated ALL of the options and still chose an abortion and this is NO ONE Else’s decision but ours. Most of us have also chosen to talk to our husbands about this, not that we should have to as it is our body alone and we are the ones who have to deal with the consequences of this. One more issue for those who have never been patients here, even with all the research that I did, even Planned Parenthood Staff themselves almost harassed me to NOT have an abortion. They actually push you VERY strongly to consider other options like adoption and going through with the pregnancy, so much that I had to put my foot down and I felt like I had to literally fight for my right to have an abortion. So unless you know exactly what goes on in there, STOP giving your opinion please!

    • Andrew on 07.02.2014 at 11:10 am

      I have walked by that clinic almost every day for three years, and have never seen them yell, raise their voice, or do anything other than hand out pamphlets, hold signs, and do their little prayer group thing. Really confused when all this violent harassment is supposedly happening, or whether following you and handing out of leaflets is the extreme harassment to which you and several others refer.

      • mph on 07.02.2014 at 12:41 pm

        Yes. I’m sure as a man it must be easy to walk by and not get harassed, but for the women who come in every day, and their significant others, as well as doctors and other employees, its a much different story.

    • Sure on 07.02.2014 at 12:34 pm

      I am shocked that you (or anyone else) have ever recorded such behavior.

      No lie is big enough to protect this “sacred right”. The ends justify the means I guess.

    • Katrina on 07.02.2014 at 1:54 pm

      IHD, I am sorry that you had such a bad experience. I am also sorry that you felt the need to get an abortion.

      We, as a society, have really let you down.

      • Anonymous on 07.02.2014 at 5:48 pm

        I’m sorry that you are equating personhood with cells Katrina. We, as a society, have really let you down.

      • IHD on 07.04.2014 at 12:21 am

        BTW many women have abortions and never regret them. I never did, it was the only option for me at the time, and I had my planned beautiful child afterwards, whom I would not have had otherwise!

  • James Madison on 07.02.2014 at 11:28 am

    Not only was the court unanimous in its decision but 4 of the justices who concurred are notoriously liberal in their interpretations of the constitution and in fact in can be argued that they were nominated for the role of SCOTUS justice in part for their expect support of Row v. Wade so that they could defend it should a similar case ever come before the court.

    SCOTUS Justices have a sworn duty to be originalists who uphold the constitution and not to “legislate from the bench”.

    • CAS55 on 07.02.2014 at 12:27 pm

      I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. This is a majority that proclaims being “originalists” and then continually legislates from the bench by selecting a president, defining corporations as persons, and – in the case under discussion – enshrining the concept of “sidewalk counseling”. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. One would hope that members of the Court would support the law.

      • Andrew on 07.02.2014 at 12:47 pm

        You realize that at one point black people not being allowed to vote was the “law of the land.” Are you saying the Supreme Court should have upheld that with the same vigor you feel they should uphold roe v wade?

      • James Madison on 07.02.2014 at 1:25 pm

        Row v. Wade is the quintessential example of legislating from the bench in the eyes of most intellectually honest constitutional scholars. Ironically it would seem from the unanimous decision in this case that even if the deck were stacked for two more liberal justices that the originalist “majority” you presently bemoan the existence of would still have handed down the same ruling.

  • Anon on 07.02.2014 at 11:43 am

    There is a saying in the east ‘be a light unto yourself”. This clearly comes before “you are the light of the world”.
    Before policing others about morality or whatever one thinks is the ‘right’ thing, it is important to apply the high standards to oneself in every aspect of life. You can’t pick & choose what is convenient in parts & try to enforce some things onto others. There can’t be double standards in that & still think you are right about it.

  • Marg on 07.02.2014 at 12:22 pm

    The Supreme Court Buffer Zone Decision was 100% RIGHT.
    No more government overeach and trampling on the rights of citizens free Speach!

    • Nameonymous on 07.04.2014 at 12:27 pm

      So then the Supreme Court should also overturn their decision to uphold buffer zones for protests at military funerals? Ya know…for consistency.

      Perhaps they should issue that ruling after forfeiting the safety of the buffer zone they rule from. Again…consistency.

  • Johnson on 07.02.2014 at 1:53 pm

    It should be a positive protest to stop abortion, with no negative remarks.

    Anology of abortion is like this, in an airport we have a right to decide to chose our destination were to go. So we buy a ticket and get into a plane. But after the plane took of and flying, we cannot change our decision, No matter what consequences you face when you get off. With all your right we cannot decide, going back.

    Similarly when we had a conception in a womb, then we cannot go back on decision, no matter how intelligent or dump we are.The baby cannot be killed, no matter how hard time we have to undergo, in that pretext we cannot harm or kill the baby.

    But this has to be advised in a nice way.

    • Anon on 07.02.2014 at 2:33 pm

      With all do respect, your analogy of conception and catching a flight is terrible. The fact of the matter is that you can change the decision to go through with or terminate a pregnancy and that decision is between none other than the person/people involved. Someone’s decision to be pro-choice does not infringe on your decision to be pro-life, whereas the opposite is not the case. Furthermore, modern science has given women the option to terminate a biological process much like medication stops negative processes from occurring all of the time. If you believe that “God” wants every child to be born regardless of circumstance, than everyone should stop taking medication all together so that heart attacks, diabetes, thyroid conditions and the like, can just take their natural course as “God” intended. This is your logic, not mine.

      All of these debates end up focusing on abortion and fail to tap into other beneficial services offered by Planned Parenthood like mammograms and pap smears. Anyone who has ever needed extra contraception for a vacation (often difficult and time consuming to do through insurance) can go to Planned Parenthood and save themselves the hassle for that type of exception. This bill gives ‘the angry mod’ permission to be aggressive toward women, some of whom are at their most vulnerable, and there is nothing constitutional about that. Bottom line.

      My last thought concerns that last Supreme Court decision regarding contraception and health insurance. A lot of people think its inconceivable that health insurance should cover contraception. Why isn’t anyone up in arms about something like erectile dysfunction medications being covered? I’d like to ask the gentlemen of the Supreme Court, “Where do you think all those ‘dysfunctional erectiles’ end up?”

      The whole thing is borderline comical, except that this really effects people’s lives.

      And for the record, protesters in front of Planned Parenthood indeed have a track record for spouting hateful words at young women on Comm. Ave. while they are on their way to Shaw’s, let alone entering the building. If you are a gentleman on this feed and have written, “I’ve never had that happen,” kindly take a moment to think about why that might be.

    • Anonymous on 07.02.2014 at 3:56 pm

      I completely agree with Anon that your flight analogy is terrible. But for argument’s sake I will go with it.

      If I bought you a ticket to Siberia, Antarctica, Afghanistan, or some other area in complete unrest that you really did want want to go to, or even were terrified of going to, would you be required to accept the ticket that I purchased for you? Or would you say “That’s completely idiotic, there’s no way I’m going there.”? My guess is the latter. This sounds ridiculous, but using your logic this is analogous to a woman being raped and you telling her she needs to have the baby.

      Alternatively, what if you knew that your plane was going to crash and you were going to die? Would you get on that plane or would you decide to stay home? This would be analogous to a woman who is medically at risk.

      I can’t believe I even have to address these issues, but I know I wouldn’t want someone to tell me I had to die or I had to give birth to a child that reminded me of a time when I was completely violated, vulnerable and traumatized. It seems you would.

      Frankly, even if neither of these situations are the case nobody should be able to tell me what to do with my body, but since you would like to, I would like to strongly suggest that you (and many others who feel the same way) get a vasectomy. Luckily, that is still required to be covered by insurance.

      • James Madison on 07.02.2014 at 5:48 pm

        First, a vasectomy prevents conception it does not terminate the development of the unborn so your analogy is completely off base.

        Second, this ruling does not actually prevent anyone from having an abortion who really needs one since there are already standard operating procedures whereby a physician can certify the need for an abortion due to rape, incest or medical need such as a life threatening illness so your point is entirely moot.

  • BU Law Alum on 07.08.2014 at 4:34 pm

    Liberals are all about free speech. Except when you say things they don’t like. Then they’ll do everything they can to keep you quiet, First Amendment be damned.

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