July 7, 2020

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Chicago "Bubble Zone" Law

Photo Credit: www.ccPixs.com
On July 2, just three days after deciding against Louisiana's admitting privileges requirement, the Supreme Court decided it would not hear challenges to two pro-abortion "bubble zone" laws (including a Chicago ordinance) banning or limiting pro-life speech outside abortion clinics.

The 2009 Chicago ordinance bans pro-life advocates who are within 50 feet of an abortion clinic from coming within eight feet of someone who is visiting the clinic. Pro-life advocates challenged the law after the Supreme Court unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that created a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics.

In the ruling for the Massachusetts law, the justices said it was an “extreme step of closing a substantial portion of a traditional public forum to all speakers” to prohibit free speech on “a public way or sidewalk adjacent to a reproductive health care facility.”

The court did not comment on its decision to not hear "bubble zone" cases from Chicago or Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but the court's order did note that Justice Clarence Thomas would have heard the Chicago case.