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NATIONAL
January 15, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - In a case pitting free speech against abortion rights, Supreme Court justices signaled Wednesday they were inclined to strike down a Massachusetts law that sets a 35-foot buffer zone to prevent protesters from approaching clinics that offer the procedure. Opponents called the law a violation of free speech and complained it prohibits "peaceful conversation on a public sidewalk," said Mark Rienzi, the attorney representing antiabortion activist Eleanor McCullen, 77, from Boston.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 14, 2014 | By Robin Abcarian
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court is due to hear arguments on the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law that requires antiabortion protesters to stay 35 feet from abortion clinic entrances. If any group in America is going to be tormented by this conflict between free speech and abortion rights, it's the country's oldest civil rights organization. And yet, as usual, the American Civil Liberties Union gets it right. The buffer zone law is legal, says the ACLU. On its face, it neither prevents nor suppresses political expression, but rather finds a healthy balance between two seemingly irreconcilable rights.
NATIONAL
January 13, 2014 | By David G. Savage and Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court's refusal Monday to revive an Arizona law that largely banned abortions after 20 weeks put off for at least another year a clear constitutional ruling on whether conservative states may adopt new restrictions on women seeking to end their pregnancies. The decision, marking the third time this term that justices have declined to take up an abortion case, suggested the closely split court is not anxious to jump into the divide between red states and blue states over abortion rights.
WORLD
January 13, 2014 | By Henry Chu
LONDON -- Pope Francis decried abortion Monday as a sign of a wasteful modern culture that treats goods and people, including unborn children, as easily discarded commodities. In the annual papal “state of the world” speech delivered to diplomats, Francis said the denial of human dignity was a threat to world peace, and cited the problems of hunger among the have-nots and food waste among the haves. “Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as 'unnecessary.' For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day,” the pope said, according to excerpts released by the Vatican.
NATIONAL
January 13, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear Arizona's challenge to the court's Roe vs. Wade decision and its protection for a woman's right to choose abortion through the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Without comment, the justices turned down Arizona's appeal of a lower-court ruling that blocked a law that would have limited legal abortions to 20 weeks. Last year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the law from taking effect on grounds that it conflicted with Roe vs. Wade.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 27, 2013 | By Anthony York
A requirement for minors to notify their parents before having an abortion and a new tax on tobacco products are among the proposals that could be headed to the state ballot next fall. Sponsors of both have received clearance from the Secretary of State to begin gathering the hundreds of thousands of signatures needed by mid-June to begin qualifying for the November election -- a process that can cost upwards of $1 million. It is unclear whether backers of either proposal will invest the necessary money and effort.
WORLD
December 20, 2013 | By Lauren Frayer, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
MADRID -- In a move denounced by abortion-rights advocates, Spain's conservative government Friday approved an abortion bill that would outlaw the procedure except in cases of rape, "lasting harm" to the health of the mother or fetal deformities "incompatible with life. " To request an abortion, a woman would need the approval of two doctors outside the clinic treating her and would have to observe a seven-day reflection period. Girls younger than 18 would need their parents' permission and would need to be accompanied by their parents to request an abortion.
OPINION
December 4, 2013
Re "Abortion clinics, not battle zones," Editorial, Dec. 2 As a family doctor who provides comprehensive reproductive healthcare, I am troubled that the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of Massachusetts' "buffer zone" law. I used to work at a family planning clinic in Massachusetts, where I witnessed the appalling intimidation tactics of protesters before the law requiring them to stay 35 feet away was enacted. I have seen protesters photographing patients' faces to post on anti-choice websites, screaming profanities at clinic volunteers and posing as staff falsely claiming that the clinic had been shut down by the health department.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 3, 2013 | Robin Abcarian
Everyone knows that Catholic hospitals don't perform elective abortions. Incomprehensibly, Catholic hospitals even fall afoul of the church if they perform an abortion to save a mother's life . But are they negligent if they fail to merely inform a pregnant woman that abortion is the safest option when her health is in danger and her fetus faces certain death? And that if she wants an abortion, she should seek help elsewhere? That's the crux of the issue in a negligence lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of Tamesha Means, a Michigan woman whose local hospital treated her with Tylenol and sent her home twice after her water broke 18 weeks into her pregnancy.
OPINION
December 2, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
A Massachusetts law that says "no person" may enter or remain in the 35-foot buffer zones established outside abortion clinics in the state has set off a controversial legal battle about the proper balance between the rights of speakers and the rights of those who must listen to them. Although several federal courts have upheld the law over the last few years, the Supreme Court has now agreed to review it. The high court should uphold it as well. The petitioners, including a grandmother in her 70s who stands outside abortion clinics hoping to talk to women on their way in, claim that the law is an impermissible infringement on their right to express their opinion.
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