SCOTUS will look into Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban and determine if the law is unconstitutional or not.
On Monday, the United States Supreme Court said it will consider “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional” in the case Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 19-1392. A decision is likely to come by June 2022.
This is the first major abortion case for the three new Justices appointed by former President Donald Trump.
BREAKING: The Supreme Court agrees to take up a major abortion case that will give the court an opportunity to reconsider Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The case involves the constitutionality of Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) May 17, 2021
In 2018, Mississippi lawmakers passed HB 1510, a bill that would restrict most abortions after 15-weeks of gestation. In November of that year, District Court Judge Carlton Reeves ruled that the law was unconstitutional, saying that the “established medical consensus” recognizes a viable fetus closer to 23 or 24 weeks. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his ruling when they blocked the law from taking effect.
The primary question these types of laws ask is, when and if doctors and lawmakers should reconsider the age of viability since the passage of Roe v. Wade.
Some exceptions to the ban would be made for medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormality. Any doctor that performed an abortion after 15 weeks would be found in violation and face mandatory suspension and the loss of their license.
Mississippi has one abortion clinic in the entire state; it is located in Jackson. The clinic provides abortions up to 16 weeks in a pregnancy. After this law came through the Legislature they sued the state of Mississippi and then Governor Phil Bryant.
In January of 2020, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced that she would fight the ban on the bill and take it to SCOTUS.
“It is well past time for the Court to revisit the wisdom of the viability bright-line rule,” Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch wrote in a brief filed with the justices.
— Lynn Fitch (@LynnFitchAG) May 17, 2021
However, the Jackson clinic urged the court not to take the case saying the state’s intent for the suit is based on an unclear understanding of previous Supreme Court decisions.
The same month that Fitch announced the fight against the decision on the bill an amicus brief signed by 207 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate was filed to reconsider the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
However, leadership from the House have called on Governor Tate Reeves not to wait until January for the issue to be resolved. Speaker Philip Gunn requested that he call a special session so that the matter could be handled immediately.
“We 100% believe in the right of the people to use the initiative and referendum process to express their views on public policy. If the legislature does not act on an issue that the people of Mississippi want, then the people need a mechanism to change the law. I support the Governor calling us into a special session to protect this important right of the people,” said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn.
“As a firm believer in the sanctity of life and the evils of abortion, I am heartened that the Supreme Court will consider Mississippi’s effort to protect unborn children. Our 2018 law affirms life and this development represents an opportunity for the Court to reassess its previous rulings that have sadly led to abortion on demand being the near norm in this country,” said U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.
“It’s been almost 50 years since the Roe v. Wade decision and, in that time, increased public awareness, scientific evidence, and legal precedent has changed the way we view unborn life,” Guest said. “Based on the evidence, I believe the Mississippi law is fair, places reasonable limitations on abortions, and meets all the legal standards to withstand judicial scrutiny. I will continue to do my part in Congress to stand firmly with our pro-life family and I have faith that the Supreme Court will rule appropriately,” said Rep. Michael Guest.
“This is a landmark opportunity for the Supreme Court to recognize the right of states to protect unborn children from the horrors of painful late-term abortions,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.”Across the nation, state lawmakers acting on the will of the people have introduced 536 pro-life bills aimed at humanizing our laws and challenging the radical status quo imposed by Roe. It is time for the Supreme Court to catch up to scientific reality and the resulting consensus of the American people as expressed in elections and policy.”