On Monday, the Supreme Court said that it will review Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, which aimed to repeal Roe v. Wade, in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
The ban has been blocked by lower courts over the last two years since its passage, reasoning that the law is unconstitutional under Roe’s standards. After the law was passed, Mississippi’s only abortion clinic sued under both Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
This will be one of the first reproductive rights cases that the Supreme Court will hear since conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed in October. With her on the bench, the court has a 6-3 conservative majority.
This case centers the question of whether all bans on abortion prior to the point of fetal viability are unconstitutional, which poses challenges to Roe.
Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, said in a statement, “If the Constitution is respected and the courts work with integrity, this ban will be struck down. The outcome shouldn’t be in doubt. But the fact that we are terrified of the potential outcome shows how unstable the state of our courts and the right to abortion are. We will fight until everyone has access to the abortion care they need, deserve, and are legally entitled to.”
The Supreme Court hearing this Mississippi case comes as anti-abortion legislation across the country continues to ramp up. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 536 abortion abortion restrictions in 46 states have been introduced since January. Sixty-one of those bans were enacted in 13 states.
Elizabeth Nash, principal policy associate for state issues at Guttmacher Institute, said, “This is not a drill. The decision comes at a time when conservative politicians in over a dozen states are dismantling abortion rights and access with a vengeance and could eclipse even the record of enacted restrictions set in 2011. This onslaught of new restrictions has been motivated by a much more conservative judiciary and Supreme Court that conservatives hope are willing to gut Roe v. Wade or overturn it outright.”
Sources: SCOTUSBlog 5/17/21; New York Times 5/17/21; Politico 5/17/21; National Women’s Law Center 5/17/21; Guttmacher Institute 4/30/21; Guttmacher Institute 5/17/21