Portland City Council repeals abortion clinic buffer zone in light of US Supreme Court ruling

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PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland City Council has repealed a local ordinance that created a buffer zone around the entrances to women's clinics that provide abortions in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a similar law in Massachusetts.

The 39-foot buffer zone approved in November was meant to keep anti-abortion protesters away from patients. Supporters say it protected the patients from harassment.

Opponents say the buffer zone infringed upon their constitutional free speech rights and the nation's high court agreed with that argument in the decision regarding the Massachusetts law.

Some Portland councilors said after Monday's 7-1 vote that they will look at other ways to keep patients and protesters apart that would pass constitutional muster.

Portland has one Planned Parenthood clinic.

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