Montana’s Clinic Safety Law Stands

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. 



14 Comments on "Montana’s Clinic Safety Law Stands"

  1. SCOTUS (the ‘five’) – a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Bro’ – has now ruled corporations have religious rights to DENY healthcare and further crush
    public service employees and right to collectively bargain, etc. What a ‘lovely’ way to start the week and damn good reason to care about who
    sits in US Senate to confirm future SCOTUS appointments.

    • Except in this case it was a unanimous decision (9-0)
      I personally abhor the idiots (my term) that harass folks outside of clinics and the like but this just shows that if you want to protect those going to a clinic then write the law correctly.

  2. Have been waiting for someone to remark upon the somewhat idiotic response of Senator Walsh to this decision.

    Walsh sent out a press release and a generic comment on the law, without even bothering to mention (presumably because he had no idea) that Montana’s law was not impacted. The press release I’ll paste below. Not. Impressed.

    (BILLINGS, Mont.) – U.S. Senator John Walsh criticized today’s Supreme Court ruling on McCullen v. Coakley and the risk it raises for women to freely and safely access health care.

    “Today’s ruling threatens the freedom to safely seek healthcare, and allows others to interfere with private medical decisions. Women have the fundamental right to access health services, and should not have to face a gauntlet of name calling and humiliation.”

    Montana State Law provides a 36-foot buffer zone to protect the area surrounding women’s health clinics.

    Senator Walsh is a strong advocate for women’s right to make their own health decisions. He has earned the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC, Planned Parenthood and the National Organization of Women.

    Congressman Daines has actively sought to restrict women’s rights. He sponsored a so-called “personhood bill” that would amend the constitution to overturn Roe. v. Wade, making abortion illegal even in cases of rape and incest. Congressman Daines even went as far as to sponsor legislation that would empower the IRS to audit rape victims who had an abortion.

  3. So the Supremes have a 250 foot buffer zone. SSA offices feature armed guards and (human) drones behind bullet resistant glass, as are state voc-rehab types and the like. What do we have? People with bulging eyes foaming at the mouth right in our beatific countenances….

  4. Where are the protestors at the doorsteps of Hobby Lobby???

Comments are closed.