Supreme Court Wrestles With Abortion Buffer Zone

Nine justices try to balance the rights of women with those trying to persuade them.
3:00 | 01/15/14

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Transcript for Supreme Court Wrestles With Abortion Buffer Zone
Also in washington, a big case before the supreme court today. Raising the question, what do you think? Everyone agrees on free speech in america. But how close should you be able to get to the person you're challenging with your opinions? In this case, a 77-year-old woman opposed to abortion is asking the supreme court to decide. Abc's reena ninan walks us through this big debate. Don't do it. Don't do it. You'll regret this for the rest of your life. Reporter: Here's the question. Is it okay for patients entering clinics where abortion is one of the procedures offered, to be confronted by strangers? Don't kill your little baby. Reporter: Protesters, all the way to the door. Here it is, happening in kentucky. Let that baby live. Well, massachusetts said no. Ordering protesters to stay 35 feet away from the clinic's doors. A kind of buffer zone. It's currently illegal for protesters to cross this yellow line. The buffer zone is roughly two parking spaces wide. And it takes about seven seconds to make it to the entrance of the clinic. This planned parenthood employee, who asked to appear in shadow, says it's an important protection for women exercising their rights under the law. In a state where there have been fatal shootings at clinics in years gone by. The protesters were able to get really close to women. And also make the women feel intimidated and scared. Reporter: But 77-year-old GRANDMOTHER eleanor McCullen says she has a right to free speech at any distance. Insisting she's been able to talk 80 women out of having abortions. When we get to the buffer zone, I have to stop. And they keep going. And I lose. And one person lost, one mother and one father, that I cannot help is one too many. Reporter: Mccullen's suit was front and center in the court today. Supreme court justice antonin scalia seemed to agree that McCULLEN HAS A RIGHT TO FREE Speech. They say they want to talk quietly to the women who are going into these facilities. Supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg countered, saying the buffer zone gives patients a little time before reaching the door. So, the conversation can go on before those seven to ten seconds. Court watchers today say this could go either direction. A decision that means so much to so many. Reena ninan, abc news, boston. And next here, an urgent

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