National Partnership for Women & Families

While Narrow, Supreme Court Ruling in McCullen vs. Coakley Is “Disappointing”

Statement of Judith L. Lichtman, Senior Advisor, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 26, 2014 —

“Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McCullen vs. Coakley is disappointing and makes it harder for women to safely access the reproductive health care they need. The Massachusetts law was a response to serious and dangerous clinic violence and harassment, and was supported by law enforcement as an effective tool for protecting citizens. Instead of allowing Massachusetts to take this reasonable step to protect women accessing essential health care services, the Court is giving extremists freer rein to intimidate and harass women.

The context for this ruling is the anti-choice extremists’ shameful history of gross violations of patient privacy, intimidation, harassment, coercion, stalking, threats and brutal violence. Violence at clinics is real and constant.

Buffer zones protect women, health care providers and clinic workers. These laws remain essential. It is the fundamental responsibility of state and local governments to pass common sense measures that protect their citizens.

Women deserve access to reproductive health care without being intimidated, harassed, threatened, followed, or in other ways harmed. Health care providers and clinic workers deserve to feel safe when they go to work. The imperative to ensure that these health centers are safe is as urgent as ever.”

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at

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