Mississippi urged the United States Supreme Court on Thursday to preserve its prohibition on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and to overturn Roe v. Wade, the historic 1973 decision that granted women the unrestricted right to terminate a pregnancy before the embryo is viable outside the womb.
“Is it possible for a state to restrict elective abortions before viability under the Constitution? Yes. Why? Because there is no basis for a right to abortion in the Constitution’s language, structure, history, or tradition, “In its opening brief in a blockbuster case that will dominate the court’s next term, the state is frank.
Mississippi’s arguments are the most direct and forceful attack on abortion rights that the Supreme Court has seen in years.
The case’s main attorney, Republican Attorney General Lynn Fitch, says bluntly that the moment has come for the court to overturn long-standing precedent because Roe v. Wade, a 1992 decision that reaffirmed women’s right to abortion, is “egregiously wrong.”
The brief claims that “Roe and Casey are unprincipled judgments that have hurt the democratic process, poisoned our national debate, blighted the law — and, in doing so, endangered this Court.”
Mississippi asserts that states have compelling interests in safeguarding the lives of the unborn, interests that have been ignored by the court’s majority for decades due to faulty legal assessments.
“Scientific breakthroughs have revealed that an unborn kid takes on a human shape and characteristics months before reaching viability. States should be allowed to respond to these changes. Roe and Casey, on the other hand, bind states to a version of the facts that are decades old.”
In a statement, Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is contesting the legislation, said, “Their objective is for the Supreme Court to take away our freedom to choose our own bodies and our own futures — not just in Mississippi, but worldwide.”
“Let’s be clear: any finding in Mississippi’s favor, in this case, overturns Roe’s basic principle — the freedom to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy before viability,” she said. “This privilege is guaranteed by the Constitution, according to the Court. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, half of the states would outright prohibit abortion.”
The case has yet to be scheduled for oral argument in the Supreme Court’s next term, which begins in October. By June 2022, a decision is expected.