The US Supreme Court last year struck down a 35-foot buffer zone law in Massachusetts, and NH’s 25-foot buffer law remains under challenge in US District Court.
This issue is also contentious at the state house. For opponents of the buffer zones. Like Republican Senator Sharon Carson of Londonderry, it is about free speech and individual liberty.
“You are banning members of the public -- members of the public -- from standing on a public sidewalk. That is unconstitutional.”
But buffer zone backers like Nancy Stiles of Hampton, also a Republican, told colleagues that rights have to be balanced, and argued that NH’s law --- which isn’t mandatory and doesn’t charge violators with a crime – is
“Most importantly every individual should have the right of privacy, to seek medical services.”
Every democratic senator opposed the bill, and when they were joined by two Republicans -- Stiles, and Jerry Little of Weare -- the Senate was at impasse. The bill was then placed on the table by a voice vote.