OF BUFFER ZONES AND IMMIGRANT KIDS

1 abortion protesters

^ the reality of no buffer zones ; perfect strangers getting in the face of women seeking pregnancy counseling

—- —- —-

Much there is in today’s news here in Massachusetts about immigrant children being sent here for ICE detention and of the legislature’s crafting a law to replace the recently struck down Buffer Zone Law.

Both situations present Massachusetts people with basic questions about what kind of a society we are. Being a “values state,” we are well situated to make the right decision. Below, I will write what I think we should do. First, however, a few words about today’s Boston Herald, which screams loud headlines about the busloads of immigrant children being sent to detention at county lock-ups in our state : the gist of Herald immigrant headlines is that “we don;t want these dirty foreigners bringing their diseases into our society.” Yes, to the Hera;ld, immigrants are pests, locusts of a plague, so to speak. And there are voters out there who think the same, or worse, of immigrants driven to refuge with us.

When you actually look past the “plague of locusts” headlines in the Herald, however, what you read is much ado about nothing. The Governor says that it’s an ICE contract with local sheriffs — he’s not involved. The sheriffs want the Feds to pay for the kids they must house. Steve Grossman attacks Charlie Baker for not voicing our state’s concerns in Washington. Charlie Baker berates the Governor for not doing so. Martha Coakley says she isn’t sure of what the ICE is up to.

Yawn…

Meanwhile, the kids await closure. Will they be welcomed into our society to grow up safely and, maybe, prosperously ? Or be sent back to parents who sent them here for safety ?

I see no good resolution to these questions. I see failure on our society’s part, and it hurts me.

Meanwhile, the legislature is hurrying to enact a new abortion clinic law that will provide women seeking pregnancy counseling space within which no stranger can assault, harass, intimidate, or imcede their access. The proposal includes a moving 25-foot protection zone and specified hours during which protesters can protest. The bill also enacts quite severe criminal liability for those who assault, harass, or intimidate women coming to pregnancy clinics.

Will this new proposal succeed where our 35-foot Buffer Zone Law did not ? I think the criminal liability sanctions will be approved, because no free speech rights give speakers any right to assault, harass, or intimidate anyone. The moving 25-foot zone, and the restriction of what times of day protests can take place, may not survive, however. If panhandlers can get in one’s face by way of the First Amendment,and if Jehovah witnesses can ring my doorbell every morning to find out if I know the Bible, why can’t abortion protesters ? I really think there’s no good answer to the intimidation of women seeking abortion counseling than a large police presence at clinics, all day long, to keep the peace. At great expense to taxpayers.

I hope that I am wrong.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

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