Buffer Zones

Sara Plourde/NHPR

New Hampshire’s 25-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics will remain after the Senate killed a bill to repeal it in a tie vote.

Last legislative session the Senate also deadlocked over the issue. And just last month a U.S. District Court judge denied a request to challenge the law.

Sara Plourde/NHPR

Lawmakers continue to debate whether to do away with a controversial 25-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics in New Hampshire.  Last week a U.S. District Court judge denied a request challenging the law.

New Hampshire Senate
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The US Supreme Court last year struck down a 35-foot buffer zone law in Massachusetts, and NH’s 25-foot buffer law remains under challenge in US District Court.

This issue is also contentious at the state house.  For opponents of the buffer zones. Like Republican Senator Sharon Carson of Londonderry, it is about free speech and individual liberty.

Sara Plourde


New Hampshire lawmakers are preparing to get rid of a law put on the books last year allowing facilities that provide abortions to create 25-foot protest buffer zones.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar buffer zone law in Massachusetts last year, shortly after New Hampshire's law was passed. Since the decision, no New Hampshire facilities have put up the buffer zones. The House has already voted in support of a full repeal, and senators are taking up the repeal bill Thursday.

Allegra Boverman

The house voted Thursday to repeal a law that created buffer zones for protestors around health clinics that provide abortions.

In recent years, both New Hampshire and Massachusetts passed such laws. But last year, the Supreme Court overturned the Massachusetts law, and New Hampshire’s law is yet to be enforced.

Before the new bill passed be a 170-159 margin, Republican Representative Joseph Hagan of Chester said the existing bill steps on free-speech rights.

Sara Plourde

Planned Parenthood is suggesting New Hampshire lawmakers replace the state law creating "buffer zones" around facilities that provide abortions rather than repeal it.

New Hampshire's 25-foot buffer zone law has not been enforced since its passage last summer because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a similar Massachusetts law. The House Judiciary Committee took testimony Tuesday on a bill to repeal the buffer zone law outright. Its sponsors say the state will face a costly lawsuit if the law remains in place.

Sara Plourde

A Christian legal group has asked a federal judge to block a New Hampshire law that bars demonstrators from coming within 25 feet of facilities that offer or perform abortions.

New Hampshire’s so-called buffer zone rule is set to take effect Thursday. But in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a similar law in Massachusetts, Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to delay implementation of the new restrictions.

Sara Plourde

While New Hampshire lawmakers passed and Governor Maggie Hassan signed a bill allowing for buffer zones outside facilities that provide abortions in New Hampshire, the U.S. Supreme Court was considering whether a Massachusetts law on buffer zones was constitutional.

On Thursday, the high court made its ruling.

John Greabe teaches constitutional law at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

He explains the ruling and what impact it may have on New Hampshire’s law.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan signed into law a bill enabling abortion clinics to create a buffer zone that would keep protesters clear of the entrance.

After a prolonged legislative debate in the house, the final language in the bill gives reproductive health clinics the flexibility to make clearly marked buffer zones “up to” 25 feet in radius.

Jennifer Frizzell with Planned Parenthood says the buffer zones will ensure the privacy, dignity and safety of patients while protecting first amendment rights.

abortion protest in San Francisco - 333
Steve Rhodes / Flickr Creative Common


A spokesman for Gov. Maggie Hassan says she will sign a bill that would allow New Hampshire's reproductive health facilities where abortions are offered to set buffer zones up to 25 feet around their entrances.

Sara Plourde

Legislation allowing New Hampshire's reproductive health facilities where abortions are offered to set buffer zones of up to 25 feet around their entrances is on its way to the governor.

cmh2315fl / Flickr/CC

N.H.'s Death Penalty Faces a Last Repeal Attempt for the Year

Although the matter seemed settled for the year after the State Senate tabled a repeal bill, longtime opponents of capital punishment in the House are making one last attempt. 

Sara Plourde / NHPR

  The House Judiciary committee considered a bill Tuesday that would create a 25 foot buffer zone to keep anti-abortion activists clear of abortion clinic entrances. While it’s expected to become law, it may face legal challenges when the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a similar law in Massachusetts.