Last week the Supreme Court made it easier for anti-choice protesters to harass and threaten women as they go into clinics. In its decision in McCullen v. Coakley, Supreme Court–protected ironically behind their own 250-foot buffer zone, ruled that women will be denied a 35-foot zone of protection.
The Massachusetts law struck by the Supreme Court is different than the Buffer Zone law in Montana which was passed in 2005. Montana’s law still stands, and was not struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. This law was the first pro-choice bill ever passed by the Montana legislature.
While the justices declared that the commonsense 35-foot buffer zones outside Massachusetts clinics — advocated for by law enforcement to protect public safety — are unconstitutional, Montana’s law is different. Montana’s law states that within a 36-foot zone, protesters may still speak with those entering a clinic, but they must give those entering eight feet of personal space.
This decision comes only five short years since the murder of Dr. George Tiller by anti-choice extremists. Here in Montana, three clinics providing abortions—in Kalispell, Missoula, and Helena—were attacked with fire bombings by an anti-choice extremist in the early 1990s. Most recently, in March 2014, the same Kalispell clinic was the target of extensive vandalism and forced to close its doors indefinitely. You can read NARAL Pro-Choice Montana’s statement on the Supreme Court decision and Montana’s law here.