Pro-family activism that makes a difference!

Campaign of lies and hysteria begins as Mass. Governor and Attorney General announce they’re filing another buffer zone bill after Supreme Court defeat!

Emotional press conference at State House.

POSTED: July 14, 2014

The Left’s obsession with abortion is now front and center.

In the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down the 35-foot “buffer zone” law around abortion clinics, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Attorney General Martha Coakley have begun a bold disinformation campaign of lies and hysteria charging intimidation and law-breaking in front of abortion clinics, and announced they’re filing a new bill within days to again attempt to restrict and subvert pro-lifers.

Exactly what they wanted: A phalanx of TV cameras and reporters from the
friendly mainstream media. [All photos by MassResistance unless noted]

On June 28 the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously 9-0 -- including the four staunchly pro-abortion justices -- that the Massachusetts “buffer zone” law around abortion clinics was a blatant violation of the First Amendment. They stated that people must be allowed speak and pass out literature on a public sidewalk. Many thought that would settle the matter.

But on Wednesday, July 2, the Governor and Attorney General, along with the state’s major pro-abortion leaders, called a press conference at the Massachusetts State House to announce that the Supreme Court  “failed to grasp the realities” and that their ruling “strikes a blow against women’s freedom” and “removed a law that worked.” Thus they announced that they intend to immediately craft a new law to attempt to stop the pro-life message and get it passed this month.

Kickoff of media disinformation campaign

The event was clearly intended to kick off a media campaign of emotional hysteria and disinformation (i.e., lies), purporting to inform people what "really" happens in front of abortion clinics in Massachusetts and will continue unless proper laws are enacted. This campaign is ultimately intended to pressure the Legislature.

The Attorney General and Governor made no effort to hide their close relationship with the abortion lobby and their complete disdain for the pro-life point of view.

Gov. Deval Patrick makes a point while Martha Coakley (left) and abortion group leaders look on.

Not surprisingly, the press conference was not on published schedule from the State House. Only the mainstream media (which is reliably pro-abortion) and “friendly” groups were notified. (MassResistance found out anyway!) Prior to the event, neither the Governor’s office nor the Attorney General’s office would confirm to us that it was being held.


At the press conference, there were stories about pro-lifers screaming, blocking entrances and driveways and harassing and intimidating people, and generally interfering anyone’s ability to enter or leave abortion clinics.

There was talk about what supposedly went on before the 2007 law was passed, what happened while the buffer zone was in effect, and what’s happened in the days since it was struck down. Here are statements by the four speakers:

Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley:

"We intend to update our dispersal law in Massachusetts. This is a law that allows currently a police officer to order the dispersal of protesters if  they are blocking access.

"This would help combat the behavior in the buffer zone in which protestors stand together and effectively block entrances to the facility . . . We’re also concerned about protestors who block access to driveways at these facilities, particularly in some of our centers outside Boston. We’re looking at establishing a standard that would be statewide requiring clear access to these driveways, similar to the ordinance that already exists in Worcester and Springfield."

[Note: Coakley used the term “our centers” to refer to Planned Parenthood abortion clinics.]

Mass. Governor Deval Patrick:

"There’s no question that the Supreme Court’s decision last week was a setback for reproductive freedom. And because it strikes a blow against women’s freedom, it effects all of us.

"I want to thank both Planned Parenthood and NARAL for their leadership and for pushing us as far and constructively as they have."

Marty Walz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts, and a former State Representative:

"I’ve already witnessed the negative effects that the court’s ruling has had on our patients and staff. Seeing patients confronted by protestors right outside our front door has brought back memories of my experiences as a state legislator in 2007.

"While I was the lead sponsor of this buffer zone law, I came and visited Boston Planned Parenthood Health on Commonwealth Ave in Allston, so I could see for myself what the public safety problem was. And that public safety problem could not have been clearer. I stood in the doorway of Planned Parenthood and I had a protestor inches away from my face screaming at me as loud as he could. And frankly, it’s terrifying. That protestor was back in our doorways Saturday morning. Just the way it was in 2007, scaring our patients and scaring our staff.

'At another one of our health centers, before the buffer zone law was put into place, we had a protestor that would stand by the driveway, with a fireplace poker, that he would then use to shove literature into the cars as they pulled into the driveway. So imagine coming to your doctor’s appointment and having a fireplace poker, shoved at you, through the car window. And even if our patients and staff kept the windows closed, they struggled to enter the parking lot because the protestors would walk very slowly, across the entrance to the driveway to prevent our patients and staff from entering the health center.

"That’s the world that the Supreme Court has brought us back to: One where women seeking health care have to run a gauntlet of harassment. One where women seeking health care are placed in fear. Just this past Saturday we had approximately 70 protestors standing outside our Boston health center. Through this mob, I watched a patient jump into traffic on Commonwealth Ave, just trying to get away from a protestor determined to engage her against her will. Other patients skipped their appointments altogether when they saw what was going on out on the sidewalk in front of our health center.

"That day, the protestors won. They managed to wedge themselves between our patients and their right to access abortion as well as other important health care services like lifesaving cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and birth control. They managed to unsettle our staff, many of whom had never experienced life without a buffer zone until now. So we refuse to accept this as the new status quo. And that’s why with our partners here today and many others we’re working on targeted solutions to protect health care access and safety for our patients and staff.

"It’s extremely disappointing that the Court failed to grasp the realities outside our health centers each day."

Megan Amundson, Executive Director of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Massachusetts chapter:

"The decision ignored very the real harassment and intimidation that the protestors and the so-called sidewalk counselors engage in. These sidewalk counselors are not counselors. They are people with an ideological agenda who often offer medically inaccurate information to shame and coerce women out of making their own health care decisions. Their actions are no less harassing or intimidating because they come from a petite elderly woman rather than a muscular man.

"For any woman who is struggling with the decision to have an abortion, or simply wants access to a mammogram or birth control, it does not matter what you call the person walking towards you on the sidewalk, approaching you and pummeling you with hateful language, both protestors and sidewalk counselors are harassing and intimidating. Because the Supreme Court got the experience of real women and real families at these clinics so very wrong, there is palatable anger on the ground, in response to this decision.

"We are here today to make it clear, we will not tolerate harassment or physical intimidation in front of reproductive health care facilities. We will continue to fight, to ensure that women and clinic staff continue to have safe access to basic health care."


The Supreme Court essentially heard these same stories (and more) and unanimously rejected them as either untrue or gross exaggerations. Here’s why:

  1. The Court noted in the text of its ruling that Massachusetts already has numerous laws to effectively deal with blocking entrances and driveways, harassing and intimidating people at abortion clinics, and otherwise obstructing or interfering with access. This includes several state laws and also the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. These impose both criminal and civil sanctions for violators.
  2. The Court also noted that the Commonwealth “identifies not a single prosecution or injunction against individuals outside abortion clinics since the 1990s” for violating any of those laws. In other words, if there’s been all this horrible trouble, why not any prosecutions? The Massachusetts police and courts are certainly on their side.

The Court concluded that the buffer zone was simply an excuse to restrict free speech.

Nor is there other corroborating evidence (such as photos or video, including surveillance video) to prove that the stories described above actually happened. Operation Rescue claimed that these accusations were basically unproveable fabrications, and the Court agreed.

There have also been no arrests since the ruling. In fact, in some ways it’s been calmer than before. After the ruling, Operation Rescue Boston asked their people to simply move a foot or two inside the old line rather than go closer, and not to appear provocative.  

The hysterical rant by Marty Walz about what happened “last Saturday” after the ruling is completely untrue, according to all accounts we’ve been able to find. Her stories about the man from 2007 being “back in our doorways Saturday morning” and the man with the “fireplace poker” as well as the “mob” forcing people to jump into traffic – we could find no corroboration for any of that, certainly not in the Boston media.

Not exactly a riot scene. This is a Boston Globe photo of the scene outside the Boston Planned Parenthood clinic on Saturday, June 28 -- the "last Saturday" that Marty Walz was describing above. Note that they are mostly middle-aged and elderly or children and congregated around the old buffer zone line, being watched closely by two Planned Parenthood people. No one we talked to remembered seeing any of the things Walz described that day.

The fact that a large percentage of the people outside abortion clinics are in their 70s and 80s also does not lend credibility about tales of wild and near-violent scenes.

The myth of “women’s’ health centers”

And finally, part of the propaganda has been to present abortion clinics as “women’s health centers” where women normally go for a range of reproductive and similar medical help, such as mammograms and pap tests, and also abortions. But as LifeSiteNews points out, that’s another key piece of disinformation:

Planned Parenthood attempts to repackage itself as merely "a place where women can go for low cost medical advice and care." It is not entirely consistent with the reality that Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading abortion provider, and “in 2012, abortions made up 93.8 percent of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services.” But such a portrayal helps present the abortion industry as a woman-friendly health system under attack from misogynistic religious fanatics.

Any claim that abortion clinics are “health” centers is quite a stretch.

Martha Coakley: A rabid anti-family activist

Coakley, who is also running for Governor this year, is arguably the most aggressive anti-family public official ever elected statewide in New England. Besides her “abortion rights” activism, as Attorney General she’s supported the statewide homosexual movement and even raised money for them. She testified at the State House for the Transgender Rights and Hate Crimes Law. In 2008 Coakley's office filed a federal suit against the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley spends a lot of time and energy supporting radical causes that are out of the mainstream.

Coakley had ample reason to be upset this time. She had defended the buffer zone law before the US Supreme Court and been soundly beaten by the pro-life attorneys.

But she’s not alone, among candidates for Governor, in wanting to do this. The other Democrat candidates for governor as well as Republican candidate Charlie Baker support her efforts “to make women’s health safe again”, according to the Boston Globe.

What kind of law is being crafted?

What will Coakley’s new law include? The plain reading of the text of the ruling doesn’t appear to leave her with much to work with. It basically says that free speech on the sidewalk must be protected, and that alleged criminal activity be dealt with separate criminal statutes – most of which already exist on the state or federal level.

Coakley said they will use as a “road map” for the bill whatever nuances and possible loopholes in the text of the Court’s ruling her legal team can uncover.

The ruling also does appear to allow bringing back the old 6-foot “floating” buffer zones, which Massachusetts and other states used to have years ago. But at the press conference, Coakley downplayed that. “It’s not off the table but I think as we’ve seen I don’t think it was particularly effective,” she said.

So besides restating laws that already exist, unless she invents something very unusual it’s hard to imagine anything else that would pass constitutional muster.

But that may not be easy. Even noted liberals have expressed some doubt. As the Boston Globe reported:

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, said that any effort to narrowly tailor the legislation could go too far and appear to target antiabortion protesters for the content of their speech.

Crafting “a package that is limited to the abortion situation just raises the suspicion that these are all indirect ways of suppressing antiabortion speech,” he said.

A time limit: The end of this month

The Legislature ends its so-called formal sessions on July 31, which is effectively the end of the entire two-year session. So any bill must be introduced and passed by both houses by then. This also must include time for a public hearing, which Coakley and the Governor both said would take place.

As of this writing, their bill has not yet been filed. Why has it taken so long? One theory is that it’s so difficult for them to craft something that will hold water that it’s taking them an inordinate amount of time. But another theory is that they’re purposefully waiting until the last minute so they can rush it through a hearing and then quickly through the House and Senate without giving the pro-life community any time to put together a serious lobbying effort against it.

And of course, looking on were various far-left politicians, aides, and
assorted abortion activists.

Can our side stop it?

The abortion lobby knows that with everything else going on at the end of the session, most of the Legislature would probably just rather let the Court’s ruling stand. That’s why they’re taking no chances and pulling out all the stops. There’s no question that the pro-life movement will be up against a veritable steamroller if the abortion lobby has its way.

To our knowledge, the only pro-life/pro-family group that was previously involved with this case, aside from pro-life legal groups, was Operation Rescue Boston. Except for the Mass. Catholic Conference and the Catholic Action League, no one else even supported our legislation to repeal the law.

But since the Court victory was announced, other local pro-life groups have climbed on the bandwagon, and even raised money on it.

But are they willing to roll up their sleeves and lobby as hard it takes to stop this bill? The mainstream pro-life movement in Massachusetts (as opposed to Operation Rescue) has a fairly reliable stable of wealthy donors, but has been criticized for being squishy on hard principles (which probably makes fundraising easier). In other words, they’re not exactly street fighters.

Currently, the only talk we’ve heard is that they’ll be “monitoring” the new bill to see if it’s constitutional. Maybe that will be enough. Or maybe not.

In any case, the public hearing testimony certainly promises to be a circus! We’ll definitely see what happens.