On Monday, the nine Justices of the Supreme Court agreed to take up an abortion case, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which involves a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Many Americans are hopeful that this case can lead to the reassessment of rights introduced in the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion prior to fetal viability.
Mississippi’s abortion ban was signed into law in 2018 by former Governor Phil Bryant. The Mississippi law banned most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, allowing abortions only if there is a medical emergency or severe fetal abnormality. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic in Mississippi, decided to challenge the law on the notion that it was unconstitutional, which a federal judge ruled in agreement with the abortion clinic, and in 2019 the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. This influenced the state to appeal to the Supreme Court, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch filed the appeal in order “to promote women’s health and preserve the dignity and sanctity of life,” and adding that, “America cannot be a humane, civilized society if its courts preclude lawmakers from imposing reasonable limits on the taking of innocent life.” Attorney General Lynn Fitch argued that this case could provide a transparent and concise ruling on the constitutionality of viability when restricting abortions, which is at the very heart of Roe v. Wade.
“Mississippi’s is a largely straightforward ban, giving the Court the opportunity to look at how Roe v. Wade, which legalizes abortion prior to fetal viability — a standard which now hovers somewhere between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy,” Daily Wire reported on Monday.
The court is set to start hearing arguments in October, which leaves many Americans hopeful considering the appointment of conservative Justice Amy Coney Barret last year. Former President Donald Trump appointed two other conservative Justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who, with Justices Thomas and Alito, dissented on the Louisiana case, based on a law that required abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges to local hospitals in case of medical emergencies. The court struck down the Louisiana law in a 5-4 vote last summer, while late Justice Ginsburg served on the court, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Currently, three Justices-Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan-have a voting history favorable of abortion rights, while Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barret are set to vote to uphold abortion restrictions. Due to this, abortion advocates are raising alarms as this case makes its way to a more conservative Supreme Court.
“If Roe v. Wade were to fall as a result of this case, states across the country are poised to ban abortion. The impact would be devastating, especially on those who already face the greatest barriers to care,” said Christian LoBue, a representative of Naral Pro-Choice America, an abortion-rights group.
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About the Author:
Laura Ramirez is a political commentator and aspiring journalist. She is currently pursuing a Political Science degree and is going to attend law school to study Constitutional Law. Laura hosts a weekly podcast, Rebuilding Culture, and contributes to various news outlets. You can find Laura on Instagram as @lalaramii.