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AAA  Jul. 16, 2014 6:01 PM ET
Senate debating abortion clinic safety bill
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(AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has begun debating a bill designed to tighten security around abortion clinics.

The bill was approved by the Judiciary Committee Wednesday afternoon. Hours later the full Senate began debating the bill.

The proposal would let police disperse groups substantially impeding access to Massachusetts abortion clinics. After a dispersal order is issued in writing, those individuals would have to stay at least 25 feet from the clinic's entrances for up to eight hours.

Eleanor McCullen, who successfully challenged the state's former 35-foot "buffer zone" law before the Supreme Court, said she would head back to court if the proposal becomes law.

Supporters of the legislation, including Attorney General Martha Coakley, said the new bill is needed to protect both the safety of women entering clinics and the free speech rights of protesters.

Associated Press
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