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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: October 31, 2013 11:24 AM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Statewide Buffer Zone at Medical Facilities
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would enact a statewide reproductive health care clinic buffer zone statute.

This legislation will provide safe access to essential health care services when patients are seeking family planning and reproductive health services. Often, patients seeking services at a healthcare facility are verbally and physically harassed and intimidated. Having had experience as an escort for women into health care facilities, I have seen first-hand the potential for violent confrontations between patients and demonstrators.

This legislation will be carefully crafted to ensure that patients have unimpeded access to medical services while still protecting First Amendment rights to communicate a message. In order to ensure both parties’ rights and safety are maintained, this legislation will provide clear guidance regarding restricted entry zones around entrances and driveways of medical facilities.

Currently, Pennsylvania has no such statewide buffer zone. Two municipalities, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, have enacted buffer zone ordinances. Providing for a content-neutral buffer zone at all medical facilities in Pennsylvania will promote the health and welfare of those who visit those facilities for services while maintaining protection for those individuals who would voice their constitutionally-protected speech outside such a facility.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this important women’s health issue.

Introduced as SB1208