"The Massachusetts House is expected to vote **tomorrow** (Thursday Nov. 1) on legislation that recently passed the State Senate to create a 35-foot fixed protest-free buffer zone around the entrances and exits of all reproductive health facilities in Massachusetts. Please take just one moment today to tell your State Representative that you support a stronger, more enforceable Buffer Zones Law!" (from Planned Parenthood)
Not sure who your State Representative is? Click here
. Enter your zip code and click "find". The next page shows your elected federal officials (starting with Bush). Click on "state" (to the right of the "federal" button) to bring you to the "Elected State Officials" page. The person who needs to hear your voice is under "Massachusetts House" - "Representative xxxx". (The Senators already passed it, last week I think - though if yours voted for it, it doesn't hurt to send them a thank-you).
The PP example letter is here
My letter is below (yours doesn't have to be this long - I just had things to say. The PP person I talked to yesterday said the legislators just want to know HOW MANY are for or against a bill, so emailing just a few lines would help, or phoning to say "I am a constituent of Rep. xxxx, my zip code is 00000, and I want him/her to vote for the Buffer Zone Bill tomorrow because the current law is unenforceable and enables harassment" or something):
Dear Representative xxxx,
As your constituent, I am writing to ask you to vote for the Buffer
Zone bill when it comes before the House tomorrow, Thursday November
The current Buffer Zone law technically establishes an 18-foot space
around clinic entrances within which protestors are not allowed.
Protestors are allowed to be within six feet (the "bubble zone") of
clinic patients or employees if they have the individual's consent.
However, I know a woman who, in attempting to walk from her parked car
in front of the clinic to the clinic doors, had her shoulders grabbed
by a protestor. This understandably upset and frightened the woman and
angered the friend who accompanied her, so much so that the only thing
restraining the friend from, as she put it, "punch[ing] out" the
grabber was a clinic guard who advised her that punching would make
When I have gone to my local clinics, protestors have come within
touching distance of me. I consider that I evaded protestors' hands-on
expression of their views only due to parking blocks away, walking
back to the clinic as if I were merely a regular pedestrian, and only
at the last second, darting into the cluster of clinic escorts at the
entrance. However, protestors, presuming that they knew exactly what I
was there for, have typically used those seconds to shout things like
"Don't go in there, they're evil!" and "Why are you murdering your
The protestors have at no time made any attempt to ask for my consent
to being within six feet of me, much less being within touching
distance of me. At no time have any of them cared to find out if my
purpose in entering the clinics was for an affordable pap smear, a
bladder infection treatment, an abortion, STD treatment, a birth
control prescription, the blood test I required to obtain a marriage
license (this was prior to January 28, 2005, when the blood test
requirement was dropped), or any of a number of women's reproductive
health issues. They simply tried stop me from going in.
Protestors do not demonstrate respect for the current Buffer Zone law
in any particular. The law's gradations of acceptable proximity to a
moving target *if* they have the moving target's consent, has proved
unenforceable: the only prosecution attempted under this law was
thrown out by the courts due to the law's confusing terms.
Under the Buffer Zone bill which I am asking you to support tomorrow,
protestors would be free to express their freedom of speech from
across the street (it is unclear to me why protestors' right to
"freedom of speech" requires hands-on proximity). At the same time,
the crystal clear terms of this bill would not only be easier to
enforce; they would contribute much more to public safety than the
current law, by minimizing occurrences of high tension situations with
rapid escalation potential in the first place (such as that involving
the grabbed woman and her angered friend).
I urge you to vote for it. Either way, please let me know your response.
Thank you for your time.
City, State Zipcode (they need the street address because that's what makes your their constituent, I gather)