The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update


July 17, 2014

Jim Bailey: Supreme Court won’t let abortion rights trump other freedoms

If an abortion protest occurs in a forest, does it make a sound? How about the next morning?

The U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on the question, sort of. And the nine justices uncharacteristically were unanimous in deciding an arbitrary 35-foot barrier is a violation of the First Amendment rights of those trying to get their message across to others who may not want to listen to it.

The nine old men and women (maybe the original term is a bit out of date these days) weren’t quite as unified, though, when they ruled 5-4 that if employees of firms with religious objections want contraceptives, particularly the morning-after type, they’ll have to pay for it themselves. How dare they?

The latter ruling was a victory for firms such as Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., who pushed the suit on the owners’ religious grounds. Certain state-of-the-art forms of birth control, of course, are geared to nipping fertilized eggs in the bud, likely before they show up on a pregnancy test.

To the purists it doesn’t matter; abortion is abortion. But if nobody listens, how do you get the message across?

Certainly not with a 35-foot protest-free zone, as Massachusetts law required outside abortion clinics. If it were that easy, we wouldn’t be fielding those suppertime robo-calls from telemarketers who manage to find ways around increasingly meaningless do-not-call lists. And I expect demonstrators at political rallies who have found themselves confined to areas blocks away from the events themselves will be the next to line up outside the Supreme Court building.

It’s probably no surprise that Chief Justice John Roberts said authorities have less intrusive ways to deal with problems outside abortion clinics. “For a problem shown to arise only once a week in one city at one clinic, creating 35-foot buffer zones at every clinic across the Commonwealth is hardly a narrowly tailored solution,” he said. And the more conservative justices were even less restrained in their support of protesters’ rights of free speech.

Text Only
Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Front page

Do you think school is starting too early?

Yes, it shouldn't start until after Labor Day.
Yes, it shouldn't start for another week or so.
No, it's about right.
Not sure.
     View Results