Supreme Court to Hear Arguments Over Mississippi’s 15-Week Abortion Ban This Fall
Is it constitutional for there to be any restrictions on pre-viability abortions?
What’s the story?
- The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will consider a case involving pre-viability abortions this fall, which could reshape the Court’s precedent surrounding abortions.
- Known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the case concerns Mississippi’s ban on elective abortions more than 15 weeks into pregnancy except in cases of medical emergencies and severe fetal abnormalities. Mississippi enacted the Gestational Age Act in 2018, although a district court judge blocked it shortly thereafter and appeals have been unsuccessful to date.
- Specifically, the Court will consider: “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”
- The Court declined to consider whether the law should be considered in light of its “undue burden” standard under Casey or the “balancing of benefits and burdens” under Hellerstedt; or whether abortion providers have third-party standing to invalidate a law restricting late-term abortions.
- Oral arguments will be held in the fall after the Supreme Court’s next term begins in October 2021, a decision in the case is expected in 2022.
What does the Supreme Court say about abortion rights?
- The Court’s most well-known abortion decisions came in a case known as Roe v. Wade (1973), which held that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy. The Court held that the 14th Amendment protected personal privacy rights, including a woman’s decision about whether to carry the pregnancy to term and that only compelling state interests can justify limitations on that decision. It held that the state’s interest in protecting the mother’s health begins at the end of the first trimester, and its interest in protecting the fetus begins at the point of viability.
- The Supreme Court’s other landmark 1973 decision came in Doe v. Bolton. The Doe decision broadened the protections of Roe by putting states on notice that, similar to how states couldn’t make providing abortions illegal, states couldn’t use procedural barriers to make abortion access unreasonably difficult. It also noted that those requirements wouldn’t apply to laws protecting the religious & moral beliefs of religious or denominational hospitals & their employees.
- The Hyde Amendment, which prohibited federal funding for abortion through Medicaid, was first enacted in 1977 and survived legal challenges that reached the Supreme Court, as did state-level bills that similarly prohibited taxpayer-funded abortions. These decisions held that there is no statutory or constitutional requirement that the federal government or states fund either elective or medically necessary abortions.
- Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) overturned the trimester standard in Roe in favor of a viability standard, allowing states to adopt restrictions on first-trimester abortions so long as they don’t unduly burden a woman’s efforts to obtain an abortion before the fetus reaches viability. It reaffirmed Roe in three ways: a woman has a right to an abortion prior to viability; the state can restrict post-viability abortions as long as there are exceptions for the woman’s health; and that the state has legitimate interests in protecting the woman’s health and the life of the fetus. These findings resulted in Pennsylvania’s 24-hour waiting period, informed consent, parental notification, and record-keeping requirements being upheld; and the state’s spousal notification requirement being struck down.
- Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) concerned a Nebraska law that prohibited partial-birth abortions (technical term: dilation & extraction) but didn’t include an exception for abortions to save the mother’s life and could be interpreted broadly to include the more standard dilation & evacuation abortions, thus creating an unconstitutional undue burden.
- The Stenberg decision prompted the enactment of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003 and prohibited partial-birth abortions except when necessary to save the mother’s life. It faced immediate legal challenges, and the Supreme Court eventually upheld its constitutionality in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007).
- The most recent significant Supreme Court decision related to abortion came in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016). It invalidated Texas laws that required abortion-providing physicians to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and that their abortion facility meet the same standards as an ambulatory surgical center. The Court found that those requirements created an undue burden for abortion access, in violation of the standards it outlined in Casey.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / JPecha)
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To the GOP, and specifically TED CRUZ, none of you care about prenatal or postnatal care for children. I have yet to see any honorable concern from any of the GOP regarding the millions of diabetic, immune-deficient mothers who have been forced to bear babies only to die on the delivery table. My family suffered the early deaths of five generations of women due to the lack of choice whether to continue their individual pregnancies. I was also stunned at the lack of GOP members at the funeral of Robert Dole. Ted Cruz proved to be the only GOP member not wearing a mask (1,000 people were there and he made a point of being present without a mask). We don't understand you TED. I used to see honor and respect in the Republican Party. You, TED, displayed dishonor and disrespect for an honorable family. Diana Bauman, Honorable Great-Granddaughter, Granddaughter, Daughter, Wife and Mother of Veterans!
When I was a medical student at Los Angeles General Hospital before abortions were legal, every week there were several botched "abortions" admitted to the hospital. These patients required a lot of care and techniques, but still some of the young women that were admitted died. After abortions were legal no-one was admitted for a botched abortion. No one died of the consequences of a botched abortion.
Interesting how those who claim the high moral ground on the basis that an unborn fetus has rights superseding those of the woman carrying it (abortion is murder) have little issue with a rogue police officer kneeling on a Black man's neck for 9 minutes (insert the lengthly list of other Black men and women killed by police here), allowing migrant's to die crossing the border in desperation (Border Patrol destroying the water caches left by an activist group in the desert crossing areas to help them survive), or (insert so many other issues affecting unemployed, homeless, drug addicted, etc).
This is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor, no one else has any constitutional right to interfere with any woman's inherent right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
WTF?!!?!? Please do not send women back into the stone age by destroying a women’s right to choose! How & why should we let the government into a woman’s body when we have No law like this for men?!??? It is wholly over reach plain & simple… It would be nice if the courts wanted to reconsider all the dark money that allows the billionaires to legally bribe nearly ALL of the house & the senate!!! Let’s see some gov’t power there!!!
Supreme court has to stay away from womens medical issues.
This is the never ending fight between the pro life and pro choice. One can argue it settled by R v W. Or one can argue nothing in the Constitution provides for it. But either way I'd argue it is settled by court precedent. One can also argue it is a state's right issue under the 10th Amendment. Either way we will never hear the end of it as neither side will accept the other's view. IMHO it is a decision between the mother and doctor and the government shouldn't be involved at all. Whatever the decision of the mother, they then have to live with the good or bad of that. I can see the argument that religious folks may not like the idea that their tax money is going to something they don't support but then that is how so many things in govt are. A side note - I don't agree with Planned Parenthood getting tax money and then as a charity be allowed to make political donations which one could argue make tax money support that party as well. It would be like allowing the NRA to get tax dollars and then they throw money to politics. So it should be stipulated if you accept tax money you are prohibited from making political donations.
Why can’t you just let women and their reproductive organs alone! Why is a rapist allowed to keep his penis after raping a person? That includes drunk husbands who beat and batter their wives before and after he gets her pregnant. Major studies should be done on how this affects the fetus and newborn. From what I have read this type of behavior is often found in Texas, and quite a few other western & southern states. Now I have slung my mud. Leave all women and girls alone. Maybe we should force the death penalty on every state. Hanging by neck, maybe televise it. Look at all the money we could save! How many hangings can you get on each rope. Force the television networks to televise the weekly hangings nationwide. Let’s pick a day shall we!
Government must stay out of women's bodies.
For years I supported pro-choice from a legal standpoint for the mothers. Not ethically or morally, but legally. Most of the pro-choice comments here are centered on women's rights and "my body my choice", but what about the fetus? At a certain point something has to resonate with a non psychopathic person that the fetus is a person too. It's not a tumor that needs to be removed unless you decide otherwise. That is the point behind determining some line of viability and limiting non-required or cosmetic/convenience abortions after that line has been crossed. If the health of the mother is at risk or rape was involved it's another story. That is not what I am talking about and should truly be a discussion and decision between her and her doctor. Her doctors should include a psychiatrist for her trauma as well. All I am talking about are purely elective, convenience abortions. And yes, I believe there should be viability lines on those elective abortions that restrict the option to abort. And not because I am anti-women's rights or have some religious or some GOP political agenda. Sorry, but the fetus has rights too. The constitution affords them equal protection as anyone else. "My body, my choice" applies to them as well. What voice do they have? If you support elective abortions, why stop there? If a fetus isn't a constitutionally protected person and has no rights because they have no voice, then that same reasoning can apply to any number of other groups of people that supposedly inconvenience or burden society. When you see a hungry kid on the street I suppose some will just want to murder them too. Call it a 23rd or 41st or whatever trimester abortion. Maybe even extend your ideals to homeless people of all ages. We could really clean up major cities all over the US by getting rid of those "unwanted" people that inconvenience the rest of society. Imagine how much less poverty there would be if all the homeless were gone and women in bad, or at least inconvenient, situations could legally snuff their children out of existence at any age? Maybe we just get rid of people in bad situations too, women or otherwise. What the hell is wrong with people. I am not religious even a little bit so there is no Christian or any other spiritual agenda here. And even with no religious ties I can still see elective abortions as societally, morally, and most importantly constitutionally flawed. Whatever the SC decision is, I figure the pro-abortion and anti-vaccination movements will take care of themselves in two or three generations. We are about halfway down that road already. The more of these people that kill their own children or willingly choose to be more susceptible to virus and disease will mean less and less of them in the future. Yes, that is a cold assessment. No less cold than deciding to have your own child killed by a doctor or anyone else out of convenience. Legally or otherwise. Our opinions are not the law. In my opinion, there should be no elective abortions other than those medically required for the health of the mother or in cases of rape. Whatever your opinion is, ask yourself what the opinion of the fetus would be, or of the homeless person you saw the other day, or of the hungry neglected child that lives just a few blocks over from you. Do they want to die because that is the most straightforward, convenient option for the rest of society or their mother? Probably not. But they don't have a voice so it doesn't matter. Your opinion happens to have a voice so their opinions don't matter. Sounds about right.
I feel that abortions should not proceed after 15 weeks, the fetus is already forming its body, an abortion that late is too late. That is a total of 3 1/2 months. i also feel that an abortion is a right if the female was raped. Psychologically than would not work well for the child or for the mother. I worked on Roe VS Wade in the 1960's. I am old enough to remember when I knew women were made to feel like criminals when receiving illegal abortions.
First, let's recognize that this is not primarily a religious or scientific issue, but a ethical and human rights issue. Fundamental to human rights is the right to self agency, so no valid law should permit the involuntary servitude of one to another, whether in the womb or already born. This is what forced-birthers failed to consider, going against centuries of emancipation and all ethics of human rights. It is time for the state to accept that it cannot demand of a woman that she maintains an unwanted pregnancy because that demand places her in a state of involuntary servitude. Involuntary servitude would put states in breach of international human rights law (Article 8 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). Furthermore, the fact that a life may be forfeit when a woman withdraws her service is no basis for enforcing the servitude. We draw on the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution as an example to extend the argument. You cannot force a person to use their organs without their consent. THAT IS A CRIME.
Ohhh, burrkitty, exceptional! 😊❤️❤️
@Freethinker. You are making my argument for me. Every organ requires consent to be used by other people otherwise it is a crime. You rape someone, its a crime. Organ harvesting? Crime. Taking organs from the dead without express consent? Crime. Grab people that don’t want to be grabbed? Crime. Because without my consent, It’s a crime and it doesn’t matter WHO it is. Get to inventing those external uterine systems, Gatica. I guarantee the majority of women will use them happily. “Natural pregnancy” will become a kooky oddball thing and you will be extremely wealthy. But it’s never going to be okay to force people to use their organs without their consent. So abortion must remain safe, legal, unrestricted, and none your business.
Abortions are a right for all uterus having people. If you want fewer abortions, then have common sense, straightforward sexual education. If you want fewer abortions, then have free or easily accessible contraceptions. If you want fewer abortions, then let women have their tubes tied or removed without needing to have had several children already or permission from her husband! If you want fewer abortions, then tough cookies because not everyone wants to be a parent and even with birth control unfortunate accidents happen. Abortions are healthcare! Stop trying to control women’s bodies and healthcare! Period!
Women’s bodies, women’s choice.
Nowhere in the constitution does it say you have the right to an abortion. In Roe v Wade the claimed this “right” was covered under the “right” to privacy which is also not in the constitution. For those following along that means the “right” to have an abortion is twice removed from the constitution. Not to mention you have no right to murder innocent children.
Precedent has been set - they should not have taken this case.
The whole purpose of the Mississippi law and the others like it, was to get this issue before the Supreme Court in hopes of overthrowing the Roe vs Wade decision. The Federalist Society and it’s shell organizations have been coordinating this effort, as was reported in Congressional testimony during the Republican rush to get Barrett confirmed. The Federalist Society working with their shell organizations ‘donate’ to State Republican AG’s to write amicus briefs to get issues they sponsor elevated to the Supreme Court and have teams coordinating legislation drafted by the States. The will of the people has been superseded by the will of the wealthy donors whose donations to the Federalist Society start at a minimum of $70 million each. I am so sick of the entitled wealth elite stealthily making decisions for the people by tinkering with the levers of power throughout the State and Federal government which they control - and the mentality of their serfdom which apparently is unable to see that their human rights are continually being suppressed by their masters, who owe their wealth to their serfs. … … … If you want to see this country really disrupted, just start taking away what many women and I consider to be their fundamental rights. The country cannot survive with decisions based on interpretations of morality by particular Christian religions alone, especially as they were interpreted in the 1800’s. … … … This should provide some interesting discussion for Biden’s commission studying the function and structure of the Supreme Court and it’s ability to function as an apolitical body as it is now structured.
Yes, for starters for those of you who love killing babies, let's just focus on this - the government is not responsible for your indiscretions. No government funded abortions. Secondly, jimK, larubia, burrkitty, and Dave, please seek counseling. Maybe you can get a group rate. You are not well and I wish your families would/could intervene. I am curious. From a woman's perspective, do you simply consider abortion a form of birth control?