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Text of the Massachusetts Buffer Zone Law


AN ACT RELATIVE TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE FACILITIES


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. The purpose of this act is to:

(1) increase the public safety in and around reproductive health care facilities;

(2) maintain the flow of traffic and prevent congestion around reproductive health care facilities;

(3) enact reasonable time, place and manner restrictions to reconcile and protect both the First Amendment rights of persons to express their views, assemble and pray near reproductive health care facilities and the rights of persons seeking access to those facilities to be free from hindrance, harassment, intimidation and harm; and 

(4) create an environment in and around reproductive health care facilities which is conducive to safe and effective medical services, including surgical procedures, for patients.


SECTION 2. Chapter 266 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 120E the following section:

Section 120E1/2  (a) For the purposes of this section, "reproductive health care facility" shall mean a place, other than within a hospital, where abortions are offered or performed.

(b) No person shall knowingly enter or remain on a public way or sidewalk adjacent to a reproductive health care facility within a radius of thirty-five feet of any portion of an entrance to, exit from, or driveway of a reproductive health care facility, or within the area within a rectangle created by extending the outside boundaries of any entrance to, exit from, or driveway of, a reproductive health care facility in straight lines to the point where such lines intersect the sideline of the street in front of such entrance, exit or driveway. This subsection shall not apply to the following:

persons entering or leaving such facility;

employees or agents of such facility acting within the scope of their employment;

law enforcement, ambulance, firefighting, construction, utilities, public works and other municipal agents acting within the scope of their employment;

persons using the public sidewalk or street right-of-way adjacent to such facility solely for the purpose of reaching a destination other than such facility.

(c) The provisions of subsection (b) shall only take effect during a facilityís business hours and if the area contained within the radius and rectangle described in said subsection (b) is clearly marked and posted.

(d) Whoever knowingly violates this section shall be punished, for the first offense, by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or not more than three months in a jail or house of correction, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and for each subsequent offense, by a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $5000 or not more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction, or both such fine and imprisonment. A person who knowingly violates this section may be arrested without a warrant by a sheriff, deputy sheriff, or police officer if that sheriff, deputy sheriff, or police officer observes that person violating this section.

(e) Any person who knowingly obstructs, detains, hinders, impedes or blocks another personís entry to or exit from a reproductive health care facility shall be punished, for the first offense, by a fine of not more than $500 or not more than three months in a jail or house of correction, or both such fine and imprisonment, and for each subsequent offense, by a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $5000 or not more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction, or both such fine and imprisonment. A person who knowingly violates this provision may be arrested without a warrant by a sheriff, deputy sheriff, or police officer.

(f) Any reproductive health care facility or any person whose rights to provide or obtain reproductive health care services have been violated or interfered with by a violation of this section or any person whose rights to express their views, assemble or pray near a reproductive health care facility have been violated or interfered with may commence a civil action for equitable relief. Said civil action shall be instituted either in the superior court for the county in which the conduct complained of occurred, or in the superior court for the county in which any person or entity complained of resides or has a principal place of business.

SECTION 3. The provisions of this act shall be deemed severable, and if any provision of this act is adjudged unconstitutional or invalid, such judgment shall not affect other valid provisions hereof.

_________________________________________________
Signed by
Governor Patrick on November 13, 2007. The law took effect the same day.

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