WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is deciding if abortion rights will be taken away. Abortion rights were given to women in the 1960s, and we don’t want them to leave.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will decide whether to keep a law in Mississippi that bans abortion after 15 weeks. This means that if they don’t overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, then people in Mississippi will not be able to have abortions after 15 weeks of being pregnant.
This says that Mississippi is asking the Court to change its ruling on Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This is because this case said that Roe should not be changed. The arguments about this can be heard live on the Court’s website, starting at 10 a.m EST (Eastern Standard Time).
The case came before a court with a 6-3 conservative majority that had been transformed by three judges who were appointed by the President of the United States. The judges said they would not support abortion rights.
Until three Trump appointees were on the Court, it had never been agreed to hear a case about an abortion ban so early in pregnancy. A month ago, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments for law in Texas. This law has been successful in being around the Roe and Casey decisions. It bans abortions in Texas after about six weeks of pregnancy. Some people think that this law should be challenged in Federal Court, not just on the right to an abortion.
The Texas law has not been ruled on by the Court. The Court did not stop the law from going into effect while it reviewed the law. The Mississippi case is about abortion. It makes people wonder if the rule that states cannot ban abortion before 24 weeks should be abandoned. There was a lot of debate on Wednesday about this.
More than 90% of abortions are performed before the 13th week of pregnancy. Mississippi argues that viability is an arbitrary standard. It doesn’t take account of the state’s interest in regulating abortion. Scientific advances have also allowed some babies to live even if they were born earlier than 24 weeks, but it doesn’t argue the line should be at 15 weeks.
Only 100 people per year have abortions after 15 weeks at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Mississippi. The clinic does not provide abortions after 16 weeks. The clinic argues that the Court should not make decisions based on how many people are affected. They argue that the Court shouldn’t do this in this case either.
Joined by the Biden administration, the clinic also says that since Roe v. Wade, which was made by the Supreme Court in 1973, it has consistently held that Constitution guarantees “the right of a woman to have an abortion before viability.” If the line between when abortions are legal and illegal is erased, If Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey is no longer the law, then they won’t apply.
Right now, only one person on the Court wants to overrule Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. We are not sure if any of his conservative colleagues agree with him.
Some questions that the justices ask when they are thinking about getting rid of a past ruling is if it is not just wrong but really wrong. Lawyers for Mississippi and other states have said that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are examples of a bad decision.
Mississippi says the conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition. The clinic argues that, back in the 1980s, these reasons were also considered and rejected by the Court. Nowadays, only the people on the Court have changed. The clinic is trying to get their decision approved. In its earlier rulings, The Court said that states could not take away a person’s life, liberty, or property if they don’t have a fair trial. And this might include abortion.
If Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey fall, it would be hard for same-sex couples to get married and have the same rights as other people. The people in Mississippi say that isn’t true. Abortion arguments are normally very heated. People will wait outside the courthouse for days to get seats in the courtroom. But because of COVID-19, people can’t go inside. There will be only a small number of people who come to watch inside the courtroom: reporters, justices’ law clerks, and a few lawyers.
A decision is expected by late June. That’s just four months away from the next year’s congressional elections. If it becomes a rallying cry, then it could become a campaign issue.
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