Justice Anthony Kennedy is widely perceived as a swing vote on abortion, thanks to his decision to retain the “essential holding ofRoe v. Wade” in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. But this perception of Kennedy is misplaced. Since becoming a justice, Kennedy voted to strike just one of the 21 abortion restrictions that have come before the Supreme Court, and that one restriction was in Casey itself. Thus, Kennedy has not voted to block a law limiting access to abortion for the last 21 years.
On Wednesday, the justices will hear a case brought by abortion protesters seeking greater access to women approaching abortion clinics — and if Justice Kennedy gets his way, those protesters may soon have unlimited ability to “counsel” or even harass patients approaching women’s health clinics.
McCullen v. Coakley concerns a Massachusetts law that creates a buffer zone around clinics that women can freely travel through without being confronted by protesters, leafleters or so-called “sidewalk counselors.” Under the Massachusetts law, entrances to abortion clinics are surrounded by a 35 foot buffer zone that no one may enter unless they have legitimate business within the clinic or are simply passing through the buffer zone in order to reach another destination.
McCullen hinges on two distinctions at the heart of First Amendment law. Laws that are “content-based” — that is, laws that single out speech about a particular topic for inferior treatment — and laws that engage in “viewpoint discrimination” — that is, laws that treat people who hold one set of views differently than people who hold opposing views — are both treated with great skepticism under the First Amendment. Thus, the First Amendment allows a state to prohibit someone from loudly protesting outside their neighbor’s bedroom while that neighbor is trying to sleep, so long as it bans all protests on any subject whatsoever.
But a law that prohibits only protests about abortion — or only prohibits protests opposing abortion — while permitting protests on all other topics, is likely to be struck down.
this is insensitive and harmful to mothers who may not be there for abortion it is harassment and if the throw things assault and when they kill it's murder to prevent what they call murder even though circumstances are not all one way. these same people cry foul when right to choice people are in their space.