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Governor Signs Chandler’s MA Abortion Clinic Bill into Law

Thursday, July 31, 2014

 

Senator Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester) has announced that Governor Deval Patrick has signed Senate Bill 2283 – An Act Relative to Promote Public Safety and Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities – into law.

The law will enhance safety around reproductive health care facilities in Massachusetts and follows the recent US Supreme Court ruling that struck down the existing 35-foot buffer zone that was passed by the Legislature in 2007.

“I have seen the harassing and intimidating behavior of protestors near clinics and think this legislation is absolutely necessary to protect our citizens by establishing civil and criminal sanctions for individuals who impede or take other actions to restrict an individual’s access to a reproductive healthcare facility,” said Chandler. “This legislation addresses public safety concerns with free speech rights in mind and I thank the Massachusetts Legislature, Executive Offices, the Attorney General’s Office, and Governor Patrick for their support and swift passage of the bill into law.”

The new law prohibits impeding a patient or staff member from accessing or leaving a reproductive healthcare facility with the intent of interfering with that person’s ability to obtain or provide health care services. Additionally, the law prohibits interfering with someone entering or leaving in a vehicle. Violations of any provisions can result in an arrest and criminal charges.

The Safe Access law also tightens security measures around reproductive health care facilities by allowing law enforcement officials to order immediate withdrawal of one or more individuals who have substantially impeded access to a facility. After the order is issued, the individual in question must remain at least 25 feet away from the facility’s entrances and driveways for a maximum of eight hours. 

 

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