WASHINGTON — Abortion suppliers in Mississippi urged the Supreme Court on Monday to reaffirm Roe v. Wade, the 1973 determination that established a constitutional proper to abortion.
The submitting got here in an important abortion case in many years, wherein officers in Mississippi have requested the court docket’s newly expanded conservative majority to overrule Roe and to maintain a state legislation that largely bans abortions after 15 weeks of being pregnant.
Mississippi’s arguments, the temporary mentioned, amounted to “a request that the court scuttle a half-century of precedent and invite states to ban abortion entirely.”
The suppliers’ temporary got here lower than two weeks after a intently divided Supreme Court refused to block a Texas legislation that banned most abortions after six weeks, one which had been drafted to evade challenges to it in federal court docket. But the ruling within the Texas case was procedural and provisional, whereas the Mississippi submitting got here in a case presenting a frontal problem to Roe and the choices that adopted it.
Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents the suppliers, mentioned the Mississippi case had the potential to eliminate the fitting to abortion in a lot of the nation.
“Right now,” she mentioned, “Texas has managed to ban abortion even as Roe stands, and other states have said they will follow in its footsteps. While Texas is circumventing Roe and the Constitution, Mississippi is openly asking the court to overturn Roe. If the court grants Mississippi’s request to overturn Roe, large swaths of the South and Midwest — where abortion is already hard to access — will eliminate abortion completely.”
Attorney General Lynn Fitch of Mississippi, a Republican, mentioned that the temporary provided “no solid arguments in defense of Roe, and the court should overturn this flawed and hopelessly unworkable precedent.”
The court docket has not but scheduled the argument within the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, No. 19-1392, although someday in December would appear to be a very good wager.
The new temporary, filed on behalf of the state’s solely abortion clinic and its medical director, mentioned the Supreme Court had already thought of and rejected Mississippi’s arguments towards Roe in different circumstances. The most notable is Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 determination that reaffirmed Roe’s core holding and mentioned states might not impose an “undue burden” on the fitting to abortion earlier than fetal viability, the purpose at which fetuses can maintain life exterior the womb, or about 23 or 24 weeks.
The legislation at subject within the new case was enacted in 2018 by the Republican-dominated Mississippi Legislature. It banned abortions if “the probable gestational age of the unborn human” was decided to be greater than 15 weeks. The statute included slender exceptions for medical emergencies or “a severe fetal abnormality.”
Lower courts blocked the Mississippi statute, calling it a cynical and calculated assault on abortion rights instantly at odds with Supreme Court precedents. The justices agreed to hear the case in May, simply months after Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who has mentioned she personally opposes abortion, joined the court docket. She changed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a proponent of abortion rights, who died final 12 months.
In their petition in search of Supreme Court overview, state officers informed the justices that “the questions presented in this petition do not require the court to overturn Roe or Casey,” although they did increase the chance in a footnote. Once the court docket agreed to hear the case, the officers shifted their emphasis and commenced a sustained assault on these precedents.
In a short filed in July, Ms. Fitch wrote that Roe was “egregiously wrong.”
“The Constitution does not protect a right to abortion,” she wrote. “The Constitution’s text says nothing about abortion. Nothing in the Constitution’s structure implies a right to abortion or prohibits states from restricting it.”
Ms. Fitch informed the justices that the scope of abortion rights must be decided by means of the political course of. “The national fever on abortion can break,” she wrote, “only when this court returns abortion policy to the states — where agreement is more common, compromise is often possible, and disagreement can be resolved at the ballot box.”
In the temporary filed on Monday, the Mississippi abortion suppliers prompt that the change within the state’s strategy represented a bait-and-switch tactic that would warrant dismissal of the case.
The exact query the justices agreed to resolve was “whether all previability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” Depending on how the court docket solutions that query, it might reaffirm, revise or eliminate the longstanding constitutional framework for abortion rights.
The suppliers devoted a lot of their temporary to a protection of viability as a principled and workable dividing line between when states can ban abortions and after they can not.
The line has labored in follow, the temporary mentioned. “Federal courts have applied the viability rule with remarkable uniformity and predictability for five decades,” it mentioned, “finding previability bans on abortion invalid regardless of whether those bans operated at six, 12 or 20 weeks and regardless of the reasons states alleged to justify them.”
Mississippi has not come ahead with a very good different to viability, the suppliers wrote. “A party asking this court to take the grave step of overruling a rule of law — one that has been repeatedly reaffirmed — should at least propose and seriously develop an alternative legal framework,” the temporary mentioned.
The textual content talked about the Texas legislation solely in passing, as a foreshadowing of the chaos and upheaval that it mentioned would comply with a call overruling Roe.