The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a challenge to a Massachusetts law that prevents anti-abortion demonstrators from standing within 35 feet of abortion clinics, which was passed to prevent harassment of clinics’ staff and patients.
Justices said Monday they will consider whether the law infringes upon free speech. The ban on demonstrations was previously upheld by a Boston-area appeals court in McCullen v. Coakley, which cited the Supreme Court’s decision in Hill v. Colorado. That ruling permitted the state to restrict demonstrations within eight feet of health care facilities.
It’s not clear when the ruling might come down, but the court’s next term begins in October.
While the court usually announces its decisions on Mondays and Thursdays, a special public session has also been set for Tuesday the 25th. On one of those two days, the court is expected to hand down rulings on blockbuster cases pertaining to same sex marriage and voting rights.
[“Stock photo: Anti-abortion protesters,” via Shutterstock.]