2014-06-26T200540Z_2_LYNXMPEA5P0NJ_RTROPTP_2_USA-COURT-ABORTION

U.S. high court curbs state limits on abortion clinic protests

Anti-abortion protestors celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on protective buffer zones around abortion clinics as they stand outside the Court in WashingtonThe U.S. Supreme Court handed a victory to anti-abortion activists on Thursday by making it harder for states to enact laws aimed at helping patients entering abortion clinics to avoid protesters, striking down a Massachusetts statute that had created a no-entry zone. On a 9-0 vote, the court said the 2007 law violated freedom of speech rights under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment by preventing anti-abortion activists from standing on the sidewalk and speaking to people entering the clinics. The ruling casts into doubt similar fixed buffer zones adopted by several municipalities around the country, including San Francisco and Pittsburgh. The Massachusetts law was enacted in part because of safety concerns highlighted by violent acts committed against abortion providers in the past.

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