Norton Couple Targeted By Protesters Is Heartbroken Over Buffer Zone Ruling

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s been four years, but MJ and Aaron Gouveia can still hear the protesters’ screams.

“It was just devastating to hear those people chant stuff,” MJ Gouveia explains. “That I’m killing my child. And my child was already dying.”

The Norton couple got the bad news at their 11-week ultrasound. The fetus MJ was carrying had developed an incredibly rare abnormality. Its legs were fusing together. It had no kidneys, no bladder, and no chance of survival. The couple sought the opinions of other doctors who confirmed the diagnosis. Faced with the reality of ultimately having to deliver a stillborn, the couple took the doctors’ suggestions and headed to a Brookline abortion clinic.

“We got out of the car and immediately we could hear the yelling,” Aaron says. “And this is from more than 35 feet. It’s from across Harvard [Street] in Brookline with all the cars passing by. And believe me, we could hear them clear as day.”

“They were telling me I was a killer, and that I was killing my unborn child and I didn’t know what I was doing,” MJ continues. “And they were just yelling it at the top of their lungs.”

MJ calls this the worst day of her life – made far worse by the protesters, even though they obeyed the state’s 35-foot buffer zone.

“I loved this child. I wanted this child,” she says. “And here are these people who have no idea who I am and what I’m about.”

The same state law that created the buffer zone is the one struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

When MJ heard the news Thursday morning, she says she was heartbroken. Both she and her husband worry for couples who find themselves in their terrible situation.

“That day — it would have been easier if they had just physically harmed me,” MJ says. “It would have been a whole lot easier, because those words will always stick with me, forever.”

In the hours after the Supreme Court’s ruling came down, WBZ found Ray Neary, the Director of Pro-life Massachusetts, standing outside the buffer zone at the Planned Parenthood clinic on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.

He said he was aware of the ruling that allowed him to go farther, but opted not to. He added that the ruling would let him and other protesters not have to shout anymore, since they can go right up to people entering the clinic.

“I am, I’m raising my voice, but that’s not the kind of counseling these people need,” Neary says. “These people need to be educated as to what basically is happening in there.”

But for the Gouveias, that argument doesn’t make sense.

“It’s the worst day of your life. It’s the worst, hardest day of your life. And here are these people screaming at you — strangers, screaming at you who don’t know your circumstances,” Aaron says. “These are not people who are just sitting there quietly praying. That’s not the case. These people are talking to you and yelling things at you, and judging you. That is a far cry from having a normal conversation, it really is.”

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