, Salem, MA

February 17, 2014

Letter: Buffer zones needed to protect women

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

As a woman from Massachusetts, it is alarming to read that the Supreme Court is questioning the constitutionality of the buffer zones outside abortion clinics.

Without the buffer zone, protesters can stand in front of doorways harassing and often preventing people from safely getting inside the clinics. While Justice Anthony Kennedy is right that he has a duty to “protect speech that’s lawful,” women should also have the right to be protected from harm’s way when making decisions regarding their own body.

Since the buffer zone was put in place after a history of violence near abortion clinics in Massachusetts, women deserve that it remain intact so they do not fall victim to such acts of violent crimes. The fact that two people were killed outside of an abortion clinic in 1994 is proof enough that this law was put in place for a reason. And those who oppose its existence because there has not been evidence of recent incidents have a flawed argument, because perhaps the law is what is preventing these acts from occurring any longer.

The buffer zone is a safety issue rather than a free-speech issue, and it is my hope that the Supreme Court will keep them in place.

Katelyn S. Rein