Wednesday’s case comes from Mississippi where a 2018 law prohibits abortions after 15 weeks, which is well before viability.
WASHINGTON (AP), — The Supreme Court is hearing both sides in Wednesday’s abortion debate. The justices have the option of reaffirming the constitutional right to abortion or removing it completely.
Roe is now facing its greatest challenge in 30 years before a court with a conservative 6-3 majority. This landmark 1973 ruling, which declared a nationwide right for abortion, has been rewritten by three Trump appointees.
According to the Guttmacher Institute (a research organization that supports abortion rights), a ruling that overturns Roe and the 1992 case Planned Parenthood V. Casey would result in outright bans or severe restrictions regarding abortion in 26 US states.
Mississippi’s 2018 law, which would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks, effectively banning them before the time of viability, is the source of Wednesday’s case. The Supreme Court has never allowed states the right to ban abortions before the point at approximately 24 weeks of pregnancy when a fetus is capable of surviving outside the womb.
Separately, the justices are weighing disputes about Texas’ earlier abortion ban. These cases, which last approximately six weeks, focus on the unique structure and how it can been challenged in court, rather than the abortion right. The court’s September 5-4 vote to allow Texas’ law to go into effect, which relies on citizen lawsuits, was troubling for abortion rights advocates.
Shannon Brewer, who runs Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, said, “This is my most anxious moment.”
Brewer stated that the clinic can perform abortions for as long as 16 weeks. About 10% of abortions are performed after the 15th week.
She noted that the clinic now operates five or six days per week, instead of two or three.
Lower courts blocked the Mississippi law as they had other abortion bans that used traditional enforcement methods by local and state officials.
Never before had the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving a pre-viability ban on abortion. The court decided to take the case after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last year, and she was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett is the third Trump appointee.
Trump pledged to appoint pro-life justices and said they would be the ones who overturn abortion rulings. Clarence Thomas, the only justice who has publicly called for Roe’s overthrow, is the only one.
A court could uphold Mississippi law but not explicitly overrule Roe or Casey. This would be a win-win situation for both sides.
Advocates for abortion rights claim that this result would be the same as an outright decision overturning earlier cases, because it would wipe away the reasoning underpinning nearly half a century of Supreme Court law.
“A decision to uphold this ban is equivalent to overruling Roe. Julie Rikelman, who will present the case for the clinic, stated that the ban on abortion is in effect for two months before viability.
Opponents of abortion argue that the court invented abortion law in Roe & Casey and that it should not repeat that mistake here.
Thomas Jipping, a Heritage Foundation legal fellow, stated that if the justices decide to uphold Mississippi’s law they will have to explain why. Jipping stated that they can either ignore the big cases or come up with a new rule.
Ed Whelan, a conservative commentator, said that such an outcome would be a defeat comparable to the 1992 Casey decision. In which eight justices were appointed by Republican presidents, Roe was unexpectedly confirmed by a court.
This court seems far more conservative that the one that decided Casey. Mary Ziegler, a Florida State University legal historian, stated that the court would likely “overrule Roe” or put us on a course to do so.
If Chief Justice John Roberts can convince a majority of court members to agree, he might find the incremental approach more appealing. The court has taken smaller steps in some cases since Roberts was appointed chief justice in 2005. This is despite the fact that it seemed there was only one option.
The court had to decide in two cases whether the federal Voting rights Act, which curbed discriminatory voting laws in states that have a history discrimination, was the right thing to do.
The court heard a number of cases in the area of organized labour. These cases weakened the power of public sector unions.
Two rounds of arguments were also heard by the high court regarding restrictions on independent political spending. Finally, the court decided to remove limits on the amount corporations and unions could spend on election advocacy.
The court could look to public sentiment and find poll after poll supporting Roe. However, some surveys support greater restrictions on abortion.
Mississippi is one 12 state that is ready to take action almost immediately if Roe gets overturned. These states have passed so-called abortion trigger legislations that would go into effect immediately and ban all or almost all abortions.
These women could drive hundreds of miles to get to a clinic, or may opt for abortion pills via mail. 40 percent of all abortions are now performed by medication.
Some brief legal arguments in the case show that abortion opponents are not seeking to end Roe.
According to John Finnis, Princeton scholar Robert George, and John Finnis, the court could declare that “unborn children” are persons under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. This would require an end almost all legal abortions. Justice Neil Gorsuch was assisted by Finnis on his Oxford dissertation. It was an argument against assisted suicide.