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Reprod Freedom News. 1997 Mar 21;6(5):2.

Supreme Court declines to hear California clinic injunction challenge.

[No authors listed]



On March 17, the United States Supreme Court refused to review "Williams v. Planned Parenthood Shasta-Diablo," a case which challenges a California state court order that requires anti-abortion protestors to remain across the street from a Vallejo clinic. The case first reached the High Court in October 1994, after the California Supreme Court upheld the injunction, and was sent back because of a decision four months earlier in "Madsen v. Women's Health Center," which found that an injunction creating a 36-foot buffer zone around a Florida clinic was constitutional. In July 1995, the California High Court again ruled in favor of the order. Justices Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy, and Antonin Scalia dissented, stating that the Supreme Court should have accepted the case and reversed the state court's decision. Judge Scalia, basing his judgement on a portion of "Madsen" which describes a 300-foot "no-approach" zone around the Florida clinic as an unacceptable restriction on free expression, insisted that the evidence failed to show that the Vallejo protesters were obstructive enough to warrant government interference. Preventing stress and anxiety in patients, a central consideration for the California courts, was not a sufficient reason.

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