With almost unprecedented speed, the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill Wednesday that was crafted after the Supreme Court threw out the state's so-called buffer zone law.
The vote came just hours after the bill was cleared by committee, but the bill's passage will likely be followed by more legal action.
Three weeks ago, the Supreme court tossed out Massachusetts’ law establishing a 35-foot protest-free "buffer zone" around abortion clinics.
Now, top lawmakers have crafted a new bill that would give police the power to disperse protesters who block access to a clinic and order them to stay at least 25 feet away from the facility for up to eight hours.
Anti-abortion protester Eleanor McCullen, the lead petitioner in the Supreme Court case, testified at the State House hearing against the bill.
“If this passes will I go back to court? Yes!" she said. "Because it’s unconstitutional.”
Supporters of the bill say it would protect patients from harassment while maintaining the free speech rights of protestors.
Lawmakers are rushing to get the bill passed before the end of the legislative session on July 31.