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Mass. AG Files Brief Defending Clinic Buffer Zone

CoakleyBOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office has filed a U.S. Supreme Court brief defending the state law barring protests within 35 feet of abortion clinic entrances, exits and driveways

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge by opponents who say the 2007 law violates free speech.

Coakley said in announcing the filing Friday the law “strikes the right balance between ensuring safe access to medical facilities and preserving freedom of expression.” The brief argues the law is narrowly tailored and doesn’t target any particular message.

It was upheld in January by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court upheld a Colorado buffer zone law in 2000. 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.

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