May 18, 2021

US Supreme Court Announces it will Review Mississippi Abortion Law

photo credit: Wally Gobetz / Flickr
On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it will review Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization; a case concerning a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks gestation. Arguments will be heard this fall, and a decision is expected in the summer of 2022.

“We applaud the U.S. Supreme Court for examining the Mississippi law,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life (NRLC). “We know more today about the life of a child in the womb than we did fifty years ago. The medical advances made in our knowledge of unborn children and their care and treatment are astonishing. Today, viability is not a characteristic of the baby but of how advanced our technology has become.”

Mississippi's 2018 "Gestational Age Act" prohibits abortion after 15 weeks gestation. Jackson's Women's Health Organization, the only abortion business in Mississippi, responded to the legislation by filing a lawsuit against the state. The federal district court struck down the law, and the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's ruling. Those courts reasoned that the law was unconstitutional because it restricted abortion before viability, but now the Supreme Court has the opportunity to revisit that ruling.

A Supreme Court Ruling on this case has the potential to reconsider Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The former legalized abortion throughout the United States, while the latter set viability as the standard for when abortion can be restricted.

“But there is, of course, precedent in the Court’s jurisprudence for prohibiting abortions before viability,” said Jennifer Popik, J.D., federal legislative director for NRLC. “The 2003 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act banned a particular abortion procedure that was used both before and after what is considered viability. It was found to be constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007.”

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker also responded to the news by posting on his Facebook page:

"I'm alarmed that the Supreme Court is taking up this radical case that restricts a woman's right to choose. Thanks to the tireless work of advocates, I was proud to sign landmark legislation here in Illinois to enshrine reproductive rights into law.

No matter what happens on the federal level, the Reproductive Health Act protects Illinois women and their fundamental right to make their own healthcare decisions. And we will stand strong with women across the country and continue to fight with you for your right to choose." 

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