In the wake of a Supreme Court decision striking down a Massachusetts “buffer zone” law, seven New Hampshire residents have filed suit to strike down a similar law in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire law was recently signed by Governor Maggie Hassan and was due to go into effect this week.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys are representing the seven plaintiffs who are challenging a law imposing up to a 25-foot zone around abortion facilities. Within the zone, according to the law’s provisions, no demonstration or silent prayer would be permitted.
According to the complaint, “The state of New Hampshire has no justification for creating even one of these anti-speech zones in traditional public fora, much less creating such zones throughout the entire state. The First Amendment contemplates no possible justification for such a measure. The freedom of speech is at its apex on public streets and sidewalks when citizens wish to persuade other citizens by means of leafleting, personal education, and peaceful protest.”
The New Hampshire law, introduced as Senate Bill 319 in January of this year, would permit managers of abortion facilities to determine the location and size of the zone, leaving municipalities and abutters with no way to contravene a facility’s decision. The law would also be effective during “business hours,” which need not be posted.
Text of the New Hampshire law is here.
Press release on the case from Alliance Defending Freedom is here.
Background on New Hampshire’s SB 319, from Leaven for the Loaf, May 2014
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