Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

July 18, 2014

Heart of darkness in buffer zone

BOSTON — “Be careful. This is a dangerous corner.”

It’s not until you visit the Boston Planned Parenthood clinic at the heart of the recent Supreme Court buffer-zone case that you realize the unnecessary danger it created. And I’m not even inside.

On this particular weekday morning, Mary gives me the heads up, as she does anyone walking by. Along with her practical advice, she will offer people walking into the clinic a pamphlet, rosary or a simple rose.

Eleanor McCullen stands in white and black this summer day, the sun blazing down, gently encouraging the youth group that has come this morning to simply pray — and also, later on, hand out roses. One young man’s Spanish came in handy as a distraught Latino father needed a prayer and a friend. The members of this youth group are here to save lives, through prayer, counsel and willingness to walk with scared mothers and fathers — to show that it’s not too late.

McCullen stands just a few feet outside of the door of the clinic. She will be the first sight for many women leaving the clinic, presumably after having gone through with an abortion. McCullen’s presence and what she represents — along with a card bearing her phone number — may just be a great help during the dark moments to come when the implications of that fateful choice gnaws at such women’s hearts and lives.

Reading some of the commentary from critics of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Massachusetts buffer-zone case, it’s become quite the convention to believe that somehow McCullen “snowed” the justices into a unanimous ruling. Anyone who believes that should come here, stand on Commonwealth Avenue for a few hours and watch and learn.

Just hours before, a coalition of left-wing groups protesting the buffer-zone decision, as well as the Hobby Lobby health-care ruling, organized a rally and protest at Boston City Hall. The general argument was that women’s freedom was being infringed upon. The attorney general who has lost her case defending the buffer zone vowed to undo the damage. The governor promised to protect women outside abortion clinics.

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