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Supreme Court rejects abortion center buffer zone case

Pro-lifers pray outside Planned Parenthood in downtown Pittsburgh. Facebook/40 Days for Life, Pittsburgh

Supreme Court rejects abortion center buffer zone case

The city of Pittsburgh can legally block pro-life activists from demonstrating within 15 feet of Planned Parenthood. The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a federal appellate court ruling that upheld the city’s buffer zone ordinance around abortion facilities.

Doesn’t that violate the right to free speech? Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out conflicting court precedents in cases about speech buffer zones. Some, but not all, apply strict scrutiny, the toughest legal test for any encroachment on constitutional rights. In a statement accompanying Monday’s court order, Thomas said the Supreme Court needs to address the discrepancy in future cases. The news is not all bad for pro-lifers. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2019 that the ordinance did not apply to sidewalk counselors who conduct “peaceful one-on-one conversations … at a normal conversational volume or distance.”

Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report on the case in Liberties.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital's managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kansas.



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