STATEMENT: CAP’s Donna Barry on McCullen v. Coakley Decision

Washington, D.C. — Today, following the Supreme Court decision on McCullen v. Coakley holding that a Massachusetts law imposing a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics violates the First Amendment, Center for American Progress Director of Women’s Health and Rights Donna Barry released the following statement:

The Supreme Court has once again ruled against women. Although the Court indicated that the freedom to seek health care and prevent harassment and intimidation of clinic patients and staff is a legitimate state interest, its decision invalidated the only reasonable way that Massachusetts could achieve this interest. Because alternatives to buffer zones have proven to be ineffective, patients and health care staff will continue to be targets of violence, harassment, and intimidation. Unfortunately, health care providers and their staff in Massachusetts will again have to be concerned about their safety and have greater fear going to and from work.

For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, contact Chelsea Kiene at or 202.478.5328.