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Briefs Filed In Support Of Mass. Abortion Clinic 'Buffer Zone' Law

This article is more than 5 years old.

Nearly a dozen briefs have been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a Massachusetts law barring protests within 35 feet of abortion clinic entrances, exits and driveways.

Critics of the so-called "buffer zone" law say it's an infringement on their First Amendment rights and are hoping to get the law ruled unconstitutional.

Attorney General Martha Coakley and supporters of the law say it's needed to protect the safety of clinic workers and patients. They argue that the zones don't deny protesters their free speech rights.

The groups that have filed the supportive briefs with the nation's high court in support of the 2007 law include the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Abortion Federation and the National League of Cities.

Coakley said several states and municipalities also have filed briefs, including San Francisco and the state of New York.

Coakley said Monday that she was "pleased to receive the support of such a broad range of groups and perspectives in our defense of the buffer zone law."

The law was upheld in January by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In June, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

In 2000, the Supreme Court upheld a Colorado buffer zone law. But Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito have since replaced members of that majority and are considered more sympathetic to the free-speech claims.

The court is scheduled to hear the case on Jan. 15.

This program aired on November 25, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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