Roe v. Wade: Abortion rights threatened in Supreme Court historic arguments on Mississippi law

WASHINGTON — The right to abortion is being mentioned in the Supreme Court in historic debates over a landmark ruling nearly 50 years ago that declared the right to terminate pregnancy nationwide.

Judges on Wednesday will weigh whether to uphold the Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks and ignore the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade.

Mississippi is also asking the court to ignore a 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe. Arguments can be heard live on the court’s website, starting at 10 a.m. EST.

The case brought to a court with a 6-3 conservative majority was switched by three appointees of President Donald Trump, who pledged to appoint judges he said would oppose abortion rights. .

The court never agreed to hear a case about the ban on abortion in premature pregnancies until all three Trump appointees – Judges Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – were present. .

A month ago, judges also heard arguments about a uniquely Texas-designed law that succeeded in settling Roe and Casey’s decisions and banning abortion in the nation’s second-largest state. after about six weeks of pregnancy. The Texas law dispute revolves around whether the law can be challenged in federal court, rather than the right to an abortion.

Despite the unusually quick review of the matter, the court has yet to rule on Texas law, and the judges refused to uphold the law while the matter was under legal review.

The Mississippi case raises central questions about abortion rights. Some of Wednesday’s debate is likely to revolve around whether courts should waive the longstanding rule that states cannot ban abortions before the time when it’s feasible, around 24 weeks.

More than 90 percent of abortions are performed in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, before they become viable, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mississippi argued that viability was an arbitrary standard that did not take into account the state’s interest in regulating abortion. It also suggests that scientific advances have allowed some babies born earlier than 24 weeks to survive, although it is not argued that that limit is anywhere near 15 weeks.

Only about 100 patients a year have an abortion after 15 weeks at the Jackson, Mississippi Women’s Health Foundation’s only Abortion Clinic. The facility does not provide abortions after 16 weeks.

But the clinic argues that courts often don’t judge constitutional rights based on how many people are affected, and judges should not do so in this case.

In line with the Biden administration’s involvement, the clinic also said that since Roe, the Supreme Court has consistently held that “the Constitution guarantees ‘a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion before it can be performed. Okay’.”

The clinic said removing viability because the line between possible and unprohibited abortions would leave Roe and Casey dismissed, even if the judges didn’t explicitly do so, the clinic said. said.

Justice Clarence Thomas was the only member of the court to have publicly called for Roe and Casey to be dealt with. One question is how many of his conservative colleagues are willing to join him.

Among the questions judges ask as they consider annulling an earlier ruling is not just whether it was wrong but what is special.

It’s a formula Kavanaugh used in a recent opinion piece, and Mississippi and many of its allies have given considerable space in their court filings to argue that Roe and Casey fit the description. about making a serious mistake.

“The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition,” Mississippi said.

The clinic responded by arguing that the same arguments were considered and rejected by the court nearly 30 years ago in the Casey case. Only the court’s membership has changed since then, the clinic and its allies argue.

In earlier rulings, the court rooted the right to abortion in the part of the 14th Amendment saying that states cannot “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, if no legal proceedings.”

Same-sex marriage and other rights, based on a similar provision but also not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, could be threatened if Roe and Casey fall, the administration argued. Mississippi and its supporters argue that those other decisions would be risky.

Conventional abortion debates will see people camping out in court for days in hopes of winning a handful of seats available to the public. But with the court closed because of COVID-19, there will be only a sparse audience of reporters, the judge’s law clerk and a handful of lawyers inside the courtroom.

A decision is expected by the end of June, more than four months before next year’s congressional elections and could become a rallying call during the campaign season.

Copyright © 2021 by Associated Press. Copyright Registered. Roe v. Wade: Abortion rights threatened in Supreme Court historic arguments on Mississippi law

Dais Johnston

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