This week, the highest court in the United States began hearing arguments in a pivotal abortion rights case. The Mississippi abortion case, which opened on Wednesday, is described as the greatest threat to reproductive freedom in a generation, as it has the potential to override earlier rulings that enshrined the law of a person to abortion, namely the law of 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States
In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health OrganizationMississippi state attorneys aim to enforce the statewide abortion ban after 15 weeks. The law is viewed by many as unconstitutional and leaving the ban in place would directly undermine Deer, which guarantees a person’s right to terminate a pregnancy before the fetus reaches viability, when it is sufficiently developed to survive outside the womb. (Logically at this point, the potential life of the unborn baby is of interest to the state and not just the parent carrying the child, so a state can enact restrictions.) The current general consensus is that the viability occurs around 23 weeks. , the New York Times reports.
While the viability threshold is imperfect, many criticize it as arbitrary and illogical, and the exact number of weeks has evolved with medical technology, as the New York Times reports — the Court has always upheld this fundamental principle of Roe deer. In another landmark abortion case which is disputed by Dobbs, the years 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court reaffirmed Roe deer and declared that « a state cannot prohibit a woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability », as Vox Explain. The ruling also established that laws could not place an « undue burden » on a person seeking a pre-viable abortion.
The Mississippi abortion case before the Supreme Court is fraught with legal complexities – and abortion law in the United States is generally convoluted and rambling – but the core issue at stake in Dobbs is « if all pre-viability bans on elective abortions are unconstitutional, » according to the SCOTUSblog. In other words, if the court will allow states to ban abortion several weeks before a fetus can live outside the womb. If the court upheld Mississippi state law prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks, it would effectively nullify the right to a pre-viable abortion guaranteed first by Roe deer then supported by Casey.
Roe deer could be explicitly overturned in the Court’s decision. But it is also possible that the decision leaves Roe deer and the constitutional right to abortion technically only exists in name, while indirectly eliminating rights and / or access to abortion through legal maneuvers and / or onerous restrictions, such as Vox Explain. Mississippi lawyers have already offered saving arguments that would leave Mississippi law in effect without overturning completely Roe deer, the Times reports. Either outcome would effectively reset abortion law and legal precedent in the United States and open the door for other Republican states to impose greater restrictions on abortion.
Many legal experts and reproductive health advocates predict that the court will effectively uphold the Mississippi ban because CNN reports, resulting in an explicit or de facto reversal of Roe deer. This outcome is very possible, if not very likely, given the current composition of the Court, in which the six conservative judges hold a qualified majority. In addition to the ideological tendencies of the Conservative majority and previous abortion rulings, there is the fact that in September the court refused to block a Texas state law banning abortions after six weeks, such as SELF reported.
As an expert in constitutional law and correspondent of the Supreme Court for Vox Ian Millhiser wrote: “There is every reason to believe that Dobbs ends catastrophically for the right to abortion. We may have to wait a while for a decision, which CNN reports may not be released until summer 2022.