Our Supreme Court once again today made it that much easier for anti-abortion fanatics to harass and endanger the welfare of persons entering and leaving abortion clinics. To my dismay, but no longer my surprise, all nine justices agreed that a state cannot make legal a buffer zone around a clinic.
Obviously, these justices have not had the unique experience of attempting to walk through protesters to get into a medical facility that performs abortions. If they had, they might understand that the claim that protesters merely "sought to have quiet conversations" with women entering the clinics was either purely fabrication or a mental break with reality. Derisive shouts, cries of "murderer," pictures of bloody fetuses that misrepresent the actual procedure, all unwanted malicious harassment. Were we to walk down the street window-shopping or on our way to lunch and be accosted by such a crowd, we would surely have the right to have the harassment stopped. But pregnant women at a medical clinic have no such rights. They are vulnerable, and they are the true victims. Clinic workers have also been victimized: attacked, even murdered, by fanatics who see it as their right and duty to stop those who perform abortions. In fact, the Massachusetts law creating a buffer zone came to be because of harassment and violence at abortion clinics, including shootings.
The Supreme Court seems to think highly of freedom of speech. In fact, the headless corporate beast with many and deep pockets has over recent years been given the right to free speech. And here we have not just free speech, but the right to approach, uninvited, women who apparently do not have the right to not have to listen. Just as the Westboro Baptist Church was allowed to defile the funerals of members of our military with their anti-gay obscenities, there is a line wherein freedom of speech becomes abuse of others.
Here's the hypocrisy:
Nowhere do our Supreme Court justices go where they are forced to be assaulted, or even approached, by unknown members of the public, not even for the purpose of seeking "to have a quiet conversation" with the justice. Our members of Congress (supporters of gun rights who nonetheless approve of security checkpoints that disallow guns in Congress) even have a separate entrance to the halls of Congress so that they do not have to risk being approached by the commoner who would like to share an opinion. When our presidents speak to us, dissenters have the right to protest -- in a cordoned off area far, far away from where they might be seen or heard.
I would like to suggest that our justices and our elected leaders follow the same rules that they inflict on we the people. Whether it is making guns accessible or allowing protesters access, they should experience first-hand the effects of the laws and rulings that they make from their ivory towers.
Meanwhile, today's ruling is sure to fan the flames of psychotic rage that gives this small but tireless group of anti-abortionists their raison d'etre. And sadly, at some point, the words, vile enough on their own, will morph into acts of violence.