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NH News

Senate Votes 15-9 To Create Abortion Clinic "Buffer Zone"

Four Republicans --  Jeb Bradley, Bob Odell, Nancy Stiles and John Reagan -- joined all eleven Democrats to back the 25-foot buffer zone.

The GOP-led Health Committee had recommended the bill be killed, and Republicans could not muster the majority needed to table the measure when it reached the floor.

Lead sponsor, Manchester Democrat, Donna Soucy, argued the bill strikes a delicate balance.

"Mr. President, senate bill 319 walks a very fine line between public safety, privacy rights, and free speech. The statute is directed at behavior and location and not the content of speech."

But to opponents the bill the goes too far.

Sharon Carson is a Republican from Londonderry. She said protesters cannot be limited from a public sidewalk. And says courts have always said so.

"Whether you agree with the speech or not, these people have a right to be there."

This bill is expected to clear the Democratically-controlled House.

It’s being debated as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a challenge to a 2007 Massachusetts law that requires a 35-foot buffer at abortion clinics.