Friday, January 28, 2022

Supreme Court assesses the future of abortion in Mississippi case

A new conservative Supreme Court majority on Wednesday will debate the future of abortion rights for the first time – hearing arguments that could determine whether it limits Roe’s scope of action against Wade or repeals it entirely.

Atti Mississippi. General Lynn Fitch defends a state law that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, although under Rowe, abortion rights were protected until about 24 weeks.

Fitch filed an appeal last year that only called on the court to impose tighter time limits on abortion. But after the court agreed to hear her case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, she changed course and called on the judges to overturn Roe v. Wade’s decision entirely. She argued that states should have the right to make almost all abortion a crime.

This case poses the greatest threat to abortion rights since 1973 due to a changed court. Judges Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. are staunch opponents of abortion rights, and have been joined by three Trump-appointed Presidents: Judges Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Cavanaugh and Amy Connie Barrett.

If the five vote as a bloc, they may decide that the Constitution says nothing about abortion and that the Roe decision was a mistake. It is also possible that Cavanaugh and Barrett may prefer the 15-week time limit over the right to abortion itself.

The court is still pending a violation of abortion rights under Texas law, which prohibits doctors or clinics from terminating pregnancies after six weeks. The state itself does not enforce this measure, known as Senate Bill 8. Instead, it allowed private lawsuits against those who violate it. This threat prevented most of the abortions in Texas.

In early September, the court refused by 5-4 votes to block the ban on abortion in Texas, citing procedural difficulties. Judges then heard arguments on November 1 to decide whether federal judges could block Texas courts from enforcing SB 8. The delay in ruling, now being extended by three months, kept the Texas ban in effect.

Biden’s administration general solicitor, Elizabeth Prelogar, will join Julie Rickelman, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, on Wednesday to urge the court to uphold its precedents and leave the abortion decision in the hands of pregnant women, not the government.

They defend past court promises that women can choose to have an abortion before about 24 weeks of gestation, the time when the fetus can survive outside the womb on its own.

They note that in 1992 the court revised Roe v. Wade and ultimately upheld the right to abortion with 5-4 votes in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Judge Anthony M. Kennedy, appointed by Reagan, gave a key vote to preserve the right to abortion. Now that Kennedy has retired, two of his former clerks – Cavanaugh and Gorsuch – could vote to overturn the decision.

Nation World News Desk
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