Lawmakers seek to overturn abortion clinic 'buffer zones'
CONCORD - A law that created a 'buffer zone' around facilities that perform abortion could be done away with less than a year after it was passed.
New Hampshire's 25-foot buffer zone law went into effect last summer and requires protestors and anyone handing out reading materials must give space for patients entering the facility.
Jennifer Frizzell, senior policy adviser for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England helped get the law passed, following complaints that patients and employees were being harrassed, she said.
There is a new push to get the law repealed, many lawmakers testifying at a hearing at the State House Tuesday, calling the law unconstitutional and violation of free speech.
Rep. Kathy Souza of Manchester is leading the effort to overturn the buffer zone law, calling it "a blight on our First Amendment rights."
Those opposed to the buffer zone say it sets the state up for costly court cases, especially after a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a similar Massachusetts law.
Supporters said it's a new law that needs to be revisited to protect patients.
"What we're committed to is to continue to work with the legislature to address the issues that have not gone away and I think if in fact the law that was passed law year is not going to be enforced then we need to roll up our sleeves and work with the laws original proponents to make sure we get something that's effective for patients," Frizzell said.
Pending a committee recommendation for or against the appeal, the full house could vote on the measure within weeks.