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 May 3, 2005
High court declines to hear challenge to buffer zones around abortion clinics
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SUPREME COURT The Supreme Court isn't going to hear challenges to "buffer zones" around abortion clinics.

The court has decided not to hear arguments considering the constitutionality of state laws that regulate speech in those areas.

The decision, made without comment, leaves intact a Massachusetts law that creates six-foot buffer zone around patients outside clinics.

The law prohibits anyone from approaching patients without their consent for the purpose of passing leaflets or "engaging in oral protest, education or counseling."

Anti-abortion protesters say the law creates spaces that only allow abortion-rights speech to be used. Clinic workers are exempt from the buffer zones as long as they are acting professionally.

The law is a result of a 1994 fatal shooting of two abortion clinic workers.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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