Challenge to Roe v. Wade Arrives at the Supreme Court

by Libby Krieger

The United States Supreme Court announced Monday they will be taking up a case next term that reviews a lower court’s reversal of a Mississippi abortion regulation.

The state law in question bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with the exception of medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormalities. It was originally signed into law in 2018 before it was struck down by a lower court that said it violates the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

In Roe v. Wade, SCOTUS ruled the decision to abort a baby before it is viable on its own is protected by the implied right to privacy set forth in the US Constitution. The ruling legalized abortion nationwide until babies are viable outside the womb which is usually considered to be around 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Since the Roe v. Wade decision, the National Right to Life Committee estimates over 62 million unborn children have been aborted in the United States alone.

However, conservatives remain hopeful that with a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, it will favor a reversal of the infamous abortion case. The two-thirds conservative majority on America’s highest court is thanks to President Donald Trump who confirmed three appointees to the Supreme Court, including Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

Mississippi is not the only state to introduce abortion restrictions as states like South Carolina, Idaho, and Oklahoma have sought to pass “heartbeat bills” prohibiting abortion when a baby’s heartbeat is detectable which can be as early as 5-10 weeks by ultrasound.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life advocacy group, called the Mississippi case a “landmark opportunity” for SCOTUS to defend life.

“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,” Dannenfelser remarked.

Besides potentially overturning Roe v. Wade, another possible outcome of the case is that viability at 24 weeks would no longer be the standard for abortion bans, rather states could be allowed to ban it even earlier.

The Supreme Court will hear the case in their next term which begins in October and ends in June 2022. A decision on whether the Justices will uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban is expected next year.

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