Mississippi abortion rights case heads to Supreme Court

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 6:52 AM AKST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The future of abortion rights in America could hang in the balance. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about a Mississippi law currently blocked from taking effect.

Legal experts and those on both sides of the abortion argument say Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is going to be one of the most consequential arguments in years.

“Fifty years, and we’re finally having the conversation on why Roe v. Wade should be overturned,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch (R-MS).

Fitch wants to dismantle precedent set in 1973 when the landmark case Roe v. Wade made abortion constitutional. The Mississippi law she is defending calls for a ban on almost all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. Pro-choice advocates say 15 weeks is well before viability - a fetus’ ability to live outside the womb. Fitch says her team will argue decisions on abortions should be made by state lawmakers.

“They’re the voice of the people so this should be returned to the people,” said Fitch.

But why is the high court taking up an issue that appears to fly directly in the face of settled precedent? The bench now has a 6-3 conservative majority. It is a concern for Hillary Schneller, who is arguing on behalf of Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“Every single argument Mississippi makes for overturning Roe is one the Court has considered and rejected before,” said Schneller.

Schneller says the facts in this case are not different from those argued before the Court over the last five decades. But now, she says the stakes could not be higher.

If the court sides with Mississippi, a number of other similar state laws blocked in court could go into effect. Schneller believes this would cause deep harm.

“This will require people in Mississippi to travel across not one, but two state lines to access a state that has legal abortion, and that’s just not how constitutional rights work,” said Schneller.

Arguments will begin Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. An opinion from the court is expected next spring.

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