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Federal Judge Upholds Mass. Abortion Protest Law

This article is more than 7 years old.

A federal judge has upheld the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law barring protests in 35-foot "buffer zones" around the entrances and driveways of abortion clinics.

Attorney General Martha Coakley's office defended the statute, which applies to reproductive health care facilities in Boston, Worcester and Springfield.

The law allows individuals to enter the buffer zone only to enter or leave the clinic or reach a destination other than the clinic.

Abortion opponents have fought the law saying it violates their First Amendment rights to free speech.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro rejected the argument, saying the law allows alternative channels of communication and is instead a valid regulation of the time, place, and manner of the protesters' speech.

The buffer zone law was signed by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2007.

This program aired on February 22, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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