The Supreme Court, in its never ending quest to lurch the country back to something it never was even in its darkest moments, ruled that Massachusetts' buffer zone around women's clinics providing abortion services was an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. The ruling was unanimous, showing that even our liberal justices can get a ruling disastrously wrong at times.
Of course, this means that now 15 and 16 year old girls, who may have the local clinic as their only source for women's health services, will now have to walk a gantlet of screaming, rabid anti-abortion protestors seeking to "counsel" them. Meanwhile, exclusion zones remain around the Supreme Court buildings, because obviously being secure behind the marble walls isn't enough to protect the justices from hurtful words.
But wait! If the buffer zones are no longer germane to clinics, then certainly they are in question in all instances.
This is the opinion of Carl Gibson, writing for The Washington Post's aptly titled "Post Everything".
Mr. Gibson, a founder of US UnCut, "a grassroots movement which mobilized thousands to protest corporate tax dodging and budget cuts in the months leading up to Occupy Wall Street," begins with this cri de coeur:
Can't you see? He was singing and got arrested for it! The humanity!
But hold on. A fresh breeze may be blowing.
Huzzah! The Supreme Court has struck a blow for freedom! And what kind of blow is this? He goes on.
And there is where the rub is. See, young women may be traumatized; hell, the buffer zone was enacted in the first place because of a mass shooting at a Massachusetts women's clinic in 1994. But, the "high cost" of possible murder of people participating in lawful activity is worth paying.
Except, it hasn't. From the ruling:
Let's parse this. The Court is saying that McCullen wasn't merely a protestor. She was a "counselor", seeking to change a woman's mind seeking abortion. They are not getting together in a drum circle. What the court has done is carve out a special status for anti-abortion protestors, putting them above those who might, say, gather on the Supreme Court steps. If Mr. Gibson honestly thinks that the Court will extend that special status to Occupy SCOTUS, he obviously hasn't been paying attention. Normal protesting is still liable to be restricted beyond buffer zones. In the above text, the Court—including the liberal justices—have carved out an exemption for anti-abortion protestors. "Petitioners are not protestors. They seek not merely to express their opposition to abortion, but to inform women of various alternatives and to provide help in pursuing them." Reading comprehension dictates that that piece of text applies to this case and this case only. The dudebros in Zucotti can still be moved along, or kept away from a national convention.
And even if in some fantasy land this ruling does lead the Court to do away with buffer zones in other instances, what people like Mr. Gibson—well off, white, privileged males—are asking is for women to go through even more trauma just to access legal services for their own narrow benefit. The manner in which he dismisses the concerns of those 15 and 16 year olds is telling. They are merely the cannon fodder for his coming liberal utopia—one which he and his circle most likely will do not a jot to bring about by engaging in the central act of citizenship, which is to vote.
While forces in our country seek to turn the Republic into something unrecognizable, people like Mr. Gibson engage in brave battles against windmills. Singing on the steps of a state capitol has not brought down the walls of power. It's a fact Mr. Gibson may want to contemplate.