SCOTUS could hear the case by the end of the year.
Thursday, Attorney General Lynn Fitch filed a brief with the Supreme Court of the United States which defended the right of the people to pass laws that will protect the unborn as well as women’s health. The brief was filed in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization suit.
“There are those who would like to believe that Roe v. Wade settled the issue of abortion once and for all,” said Attorney General Fitch. “But all it did was establish a special-rules regime for abortion jurisprudence that has left these cases out of step with other Court decisions and neutral principles of law applied by the Court. As a result, state legislatures, and the people they represent, have lacked clarity in passing laws to protect legitimate public interests, and artificial guideposts have stunted important public debate on how we, as a society, care for the dignity of women and their children. It is time for the Court to set this right and return this political debate to the political branches of government.”
The U.S. Supreme Court made the decision to take up the case on May 17 of this year. Its primary focus is Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, a law that was passed in the 2018 Legislative session. It is likely a verdict will not be rendered before summer of 2022.
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By filing the brief, Fitch has lived up to the promise she made in January of 2020 when she said she would fight the ban in court if it came to that.
The brief noted that the discord that was established by Roe, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey complicated matters.
“Casey recognized that Roe’s disregard for state interests had to be abandoned…. Casey tried to improve upon Roe by replacing strict scrutiny with the undue-burden standard. But that standard too defeats important state interests rather than accounts for them.” The brief continues, “The only workable approach to accommodating the competing interests here is to return the matter to ‘legislators, not judges.’…The national fever on abortion can break only when this Court returns abortion policy to the states – where agreement is more common, compromise is more possible, and disagreement can be resolved at the ballot box.”
AG Fitch said that with her office’s brief they are asking the Court to acknowledge the right of the people to protect their interests and give clarity on how to do that.
“Mississippi is leading the charge in standing up for the most vulnerable in our society,” Senator Roger Wicker said. “This case represents the most significant challenge in a generation to Roe v. Wade, which has imposed abortion on demand across this country for nearly 50 years. I am proud to stand with Mississippi in this noble fight.”
Fitch is of the opinion that in the nearly 50 years since Roe, science and society have continued on and made even further breakthroughs when it comes to knowledge regarding an unborn baby and gestation.
For instance, during these 50 years the viability marker has moved from 28 weeks to 22 weeks in some cases, and science will only continue to advance.
“Legislatures should be able to respond to those advances, which they cannot do in the face of flawed precedents that are anchored to decades-stale views of life and health,” the brief argues.
The Attorney General asks the Court to consider the policy and cultural shifts that have occurred in the 30-50 years since Roe and Casey and argues that the precedent set in these cases, “shackle states to a view of facts that is decades out of date.”
The brief also countered Casey by stating that, “Many laws (largely post-dating Roe) protect equal opportunity—including prohibitions on sex and pregnancy discrimination in employment, guarantees of employment leave for pregnancy and birth, and support to offset the costs of childcare for working mothers…. Casey gives no good reason to believe that decades of advances for women rest on Roe, and evidence is to the contrary.”