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Monday, May 17, 2021 : By Heather Hayes
Every court case regarding abortion is important, but the Supreme Court is set to hear an abortion case that could have a monumental impact on the abortion debate in America.
Mississippi’s law bans abortions after 15 weeks except in cases of severe fetal abnormality. The law was struck down by a federal judge in 2018 and that ruling was upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which could mean major changes to abortion law in America. In 1973, Roe v. Wade made abortion legal up to 24 weeks gestation nationwide.
Many find the case particularly intriguing considering the recent addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Court. She is personally pro-life. Many cite the supposed 6-3 conservative majority on the Court, but in truth it is a 5-4 majority at best as Chief Justice John Roberts routinely sides with the Court’s liberal justices. In a previous Court case involving a Louisiana abortion law, Roberts sided with the liberal justices to strike down the law while Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch dissented.
Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said, “This will be, by far, the most important abortion case the Court will have heard since the Casey decision in 1992.” He added, “If states are allowed to effectively ban abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy, as the Mississippi law in this case does, then pregnant women would have a far shorter window in which they could lawfully obtain an abortion than what Roe and Casey currently require.”
Abortion supporters are concerned about the case given the conservative majority. Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said, “Alarm bells are ringing loudly about the threat to reproductive rights. The Supreme Court just agreed to review an abortion ban that unquestionably violates nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent and is a test case to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki voiced President Joe Biden’s support for abortion saying, “The president and the vice president are devoted to ensuring that every American has access to health care, including reproductive health care, regardless of their income, zip code, race, health insurance status, or immigration status.” Psaki added that Biden is “committed to codifying Roe.”
Pro-life groups support the law and the decision to hear the case. The March for Life explained in a statement that the U.S. is now one of seven countries (including China and North Korea) that allows abortion at anytime up until the moment of birth and the overwhelming majority of Americans disagree with this, adding, “States should be allowed to craft laws that are in line with both public opinion on this issue as well as basic human compassion, instead of the extreme policy that Roe imposed.”
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch will defend the law, saying she is “committed to preserving the rule of law, including defending the constitutionality of this statute.”
She added, “The Mississippi legislature enacted this law consistent with the will of its constituents to promote women’s health and preserve the dignity and sanctity of life. I remain committed to advocating for women and defending Mississippi’s legal right to protect the unborn.”
The key to the entire debate is the point raised by March for Life. States should have the right to restrict abortion and not be beholden to an outdated and flawed Supreme Court decision. If voters believe that abortion is murder, they should have the right to say that they do not want murder legalized in their state.
Roe v. Wade is not only a travesty for pro-lifers, it is a gross violation of states’ rights. The Supreme Court should not be allowed to make law for the entire country. Repeatedly states have been denied the right to self-governance, which is the principle America was founded upon.
If the Supreme Court values the rights of states and the right of the unborn, it will take this opportunity to reduce decades of judicial tyranny and the injustices that are Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.