Sen. Shockley on SB 497: It Protects the Protesters from People Entering the Clinics

by jhwygirl

Yeah. The things you hear on the radio.

Basically, what this bill does is it makes sure the protester isn’t harassed by the persons entering the clinic

After the 2nd newsbreak today, I had to pull over and write it down, so shocked I was at what he was saying, and wanting to make sure I got it exactly verbatim.

Who knew? People seeking health care are apparently harassing protesters. I never knew it was such a problem!

We blogged about SB497 with this week’s Part I….and the comments kicked this up, from thegreatlettera:

(This bill) not only guts the current 45-8-110, but it turns the protesters into a 16 foot diameter spherical “bubble” thing. Linking the bubbles would create an invisible fence with human posts where there’s a little zap for passing through as well, except it’s $100 instead of electrical. I think you’re right that this would be unconstitutional, it’s scary he thinks his ruse will work. It’s scarier that people would actually turn out to be “posts.”

Healthcare isn’t hard enough to get in this state – especially in rural areas – Sen. Shockley wants you to get arrested while seeking it.

Obviously I’m missing something here – because this one passed the Senate Judiciary committee yesterday, 12 – 0.

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  1. this runaway religious zealotry and hysteria which the far right has engaged upon has to stop now. it is time for montanans to stand up for our freedom before we find ourselves living a right wing fundamentalist christian minority dominated taliban state. laws proposed which abridge our right to enter medical clinics without physical interference are an affront to any american, to our constitution and are an idiotic waste of the state’s resources and time. has everyone lost their minds in helena? this law does not pass even the slightest judicial litmus test of personal freedom.
    it an insane proposal.

  2. goof houlihan

    The people of Montana would be far better off if the legislature met once every ten years.

  3. Pronghorn

    Remember the Martz-inspired bumpersticker, “My Governor is dumber than your Governor”? Maybe it’s time for an update… “My state legislature is dumber (meaner, & more extremist) than your state legislature.”

    12-0 out of the Senate Judiciary Committee–that’s just plain scary.

  4. What inspired this bill? Did someone yell something at Marilyn Hatch (Blue Mountain Clinic’s resident Wednesday morning nutcase) that hurt her feelings recently?

  5. You know, Goof, I was thinking the same thing when I heard Carol Williams (and I like Carol) on Montana Morning News on NPR earlier today. I don’t want an annual Legislature. Can you just imagine what would happen if some of these idiots served in government every year? We’d get more crap laws like, well, this one.

  6. petetalbot

    No, jhwygirl, you’re not missing anything here. There were some amendments to Shockley’s original bill but it still sucks.

    I was appalled at the five Democrats (there are 12 members on the committee) who voted for the bill — especially Carol Juneau, one of my favorite legislators. And what about Laslovich, or Missoula Senator Larson, or Jent or Moss? I await their explanation.

  7. thegreatlettera

    Something keeps nagging at me about this bill. I figured it out.

    There are 3 standards to judge the constitutionality of this bill: strict scrutiny, undue burden, and rational basis. It utterly fails the first. It fails the second because arrest + $100 is undue burden. However, the rational basis standard is that the law must be a reasonable measure designed to achieve a legitimate state interest.

    But this law causes a clash between rational basis and undue burden. While it is clearly an undue burden, the state has a legitimate interest in protecting people who visit the clinic (45-8-110) so they should also have a legitimate interest in protecting those who protest the clinic. They also have a compelling interest in protecting citizens’ right to protest. What happens when those two legitimate interests create an undue burden? It becomes a question of whether this is a reasonable measure. If the bill is an unreasonable measure, then a reasonable measure will reconcile the clash. I don’t think this is possible in light of how the amendment is written.

    I think I must be missing something too.

    • You talk about reasonable. I’m wondering that too – which is why I asked whether there were a bunch of protesters out there being harassed by people seeking health care.

      I mean – if that were true, I could see where perhaps it would be reasonable (to some degree – as you pointed out earlier, it makes it impossible if, realistically, protesters surrounded the clinic in a 36 foot radius around the building and patients needed to go through that circle).

      But as it is, I’ve never heard of persons seeking entry into a clinic harassing protesters. Usually – at least in all the instances I’ve seen – persons seeking entry to a clinic under protest need protection themselves! Further, not everyone visiting a clinic that provides abortions are seeking an abortion – many are just looking for ob-gyn services – and in many cases, there are pregnant women going to these places for pre-natal care.

      • thegreatlettera

        If pro-life protesters are being intimidated, someone is using PCP. There could be no other explanation, because people entering clinics do need protection. This amendment couldn’t be considered reasonable, unless from a convoluted legal standpoint.

        Many women are seeking only ob-gyn services and that’s what bugs me about this. It’s guilt by association and by that standard all Republicans are worthless idiots because of Bush.

        I looked at Hill v. Colorado and American Steel Foundries v. Tri-City Trades Council. These seem to be relevant and I think that people trying to surround a clinic would be found in violation of obstructing free passage. First amendment rights on city streets are highly protected but this kind of law would still not pass the test.

  8. goof houlihan

    It’s bullshit and why rationalize it? The clinic customers should be able to give as good as they get from the protesters.

    Rebecca, I like the classics; “get a job” works for me. But I’m an equal opportunity offender…

  1. 1 The Christian Right’s Persecution Delusion « Red Montana

    […] for their beliefs. Over at one of my favorite Montana blogs, 4&20 Blackbirds, there is a great discussion going on about the latest antics of one of these dorks, Senator Shockley, and his latest masterpiece of […]

  2. 2 We’re in the Friday Feminist Fuck You! « 42nd Wave Feminist

    […] Apparently the PROTESTERS need protection from the people entering the clinic.) The folks over at 4&20 Blackbirds have written about it. Again here is the bill info and the bill language. This bill is still in the Senate, as of this […]

  3. 3 2009 Legislative Session: Week 11 (Part II) « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] to Friday: Remember Sen. Shockley’s Protect-the-Protester bill? SB497 has been amended quite a bit and has now passed through the Senate. Honestly, the ridiculous […]




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