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Supreme Court declines case involving abortion & free speech

WASHINGTON (BP)–The U.S. Supreme Court has dealt another setback to the efforts of pro-lifers who try to change the minds of women seeking abortions.

The justices announced April 18 they would not review a lower court ruling affirming a Massachusetts law that bars communication with people within a certain distance of abortion clinics. The high court announced without comment its refusal to consider the appeal.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals had overturned a federal judge’s decision blocking enforcement of the law after he ruled it violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The law, enacted in 2000, establishes a six-foot, floating buffer zone around people approaching abortion clinics and prohibits the distribution of leaflets, display of signs or oral communication without permission within that restricted space. The floating zone must be within an 18-foot radius of a clinic entrance or driveway.

The measure restricts the ability of sidewalk counselors and picketers to communicate with women considering abortion.

The law is similar to a Colorado measure establishing a no-communication zone outside abortion clinics. The Supreme Court upheld that law in 2000.

The case is McGuire v. Reilly.

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