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Appellate Court Upholds Mass. Abortion Protest Law


BOSTON (AP) — The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law that bars protests in 35-foot “buffer zones” around abortion clinic entrances, exits and driveways.

Released Wednesday, the decision says the law protects rights of prospective patients and clinic employees “without offending the First Amendment rights of others.”

The decision upholds a district court decision relating to a challenge of the law as applied to entrances of reproductive health care facilities in Boston, Worcester and Springfield.

Abortion opponents had claimed the law violated free speech rights.

Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office defended the buffer zone law, which Gov. Deval Patrick signed in 2007.

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