New Hampshire’s “buffer zone” law is on hold, keeping peaceful pro-life witness outside abortion facilities legal for now. Senate Bill 319, signed in June by Governor Maggie Hassan, would have allowed abortion facility managers to impose anti-speech zones of up to 25 feet outside the facilities. Seven New Hampshire residents have filed suit against the law, in the case of Reddy v. Foster. U.S. District Court Judge Joseph N. Laplante has issued a stay preventing enforcement of the law at this time. Further proceedings in the case are expected in September.
A similar law in Massachusetts was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in late June (McCullen v. Coakley) in a unanimous vote.
Cornerstone’s Executive Director Bryan McCormack released the following statement when the Governor signed SB 319 on June 10.
“Governor Hassan has chosen to sign a bill that violates the First Amendment for the sake of accommodating the abortion industry. No law enforcement official from any town testified in favor of a New Hampshire buffer zone law. None of the alleged complaints reported by abortion providers ever made their way into the hands of local police.
At the hearings on SB 319, New Hampshire pro-life activists committed to peaceful witness found themselves slandered by buffer zone supporters who equate silent prayer with violence. Those who stand in silent prayer outside abortion facilities are citizens of New Hampshire. By signing SB 319 into law the Governor has shown that she does not take into consideration all of her constituents and is willing to take rights from those who oppose her on an issue.”