McCullen v. Coakley, No. 12-1334 (1st Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
At the turn of this century, the Massachusetts legislature passed a law that created fixed and floating buffer zones around abortion clinics. The First Circuit Court of Appeals rejected several challenges to the law's constitutionality. In 2007, the legislature amended the statute to create a fixed thirty-five-foot buffer zone around the entrances, exits, and driveways of abortion clinics. The First Circuit upheld the law against a facial challenge. Plaintiffs pursued an as-applied challenge in district court, where it was rejected. Plaintiffs again appealed, principally raising First Amendment arguments. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the statute is a content-neutral, narrowly tailored time-place-manner regulation that protects the rights of prospective patients and clinic employees without offending the First Amendment rights of others.