Supreme Court stays out of Mass. abortion-clinic case

Monday, March 22, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to a Massachusetts law that creates a protest-free zone around the entrances and driveways of abortion clinics.

The justices offered no comment today in turning down an appeal from anti-abortion protesters who object to the state-imposed protest-free zone of 35 feet outside clinic entrances. Abortion opponents complained that the law violates their free-speech rights and forces them into the street, where they’ve nearly been hit by cars while trying to dissuade pregnant women from entering the clinics.

State Attorney General Martha Coakley, recently defeated in her U.S. Senate bid, has defended the law as enhancing public safety while still giving protesters the right to express themselves.

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