The country’s highest court does not say why it agrees to hear spe­cific cases, but legal ana­lysts say that this case com­bines hot-​​button issues in one ques­tion: abor­tion rights and free speech, and a state’s respon­si­bility to bal­ance the two.

That’s the issue the court will be looking at, and obvi­ously [the state’s] argu­ment is, ‘we’re trying to limit as little speech as pos­sible by homing in on a problem,’ ” said Martha F. Davis, a pro­fessor at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity School of Law who has advo­cated in sup­port of sim­ilar buffer zone laws.

She added, “Here in Boston, it’s not an aca­d­emic issue . . . You have a sit­u­a­tion where there has been vio­lence, and this has put an end to that.”

The law, which pro­hibits any type of demon­stra­tion for or against abor­tion within a 35-​​foot zone around dri­ve­ways and entrances of abor­tion clinics, had been unsuc­cess­fully chal­lenged in fed­eral court in Mass­a­chu­setts sev­eral times. A fed­eral appeals court in Cal­i­fornia struck down parts of a sim­ilar law there in 2011, how­ever, finding that the law was not neu­tral because police offi­cers were one-​​sided in their enforce­ment, citing pro­testers but not people who were defending the patients.

Read the article at The Boston Globe →