JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments over a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks on December 1, 2021. The court announced the hearing on Monday, according to CBS News.
In May 2021, the high court agreed to hear the case (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization) over Mississippi’s ban. The state already has told the court it should overrule its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that established a nationwide right to abortion.
“We are looking forward to the opportunity to present our case directly to the Justices this December,” said Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “The Court has acknowledged that states have the authority to promote legitimate interests, including protecting women’s health and defending life; but its abortion precedents have denied the people and their elected leaders the ability to fully do so. In fact, the Roe decision shackles states to a view of facts that is decades old, such that while science, medicine, technology, and culture have all rapidly progressed since 1973, duly enacted laws on abortion are unable to keep up. With Dobbs, the Supreme Court can return decision making about abortion policy to the elected leaders and allow the people to empower women and promote life.”
Last week, abortion providers urged the Supreme Court to reject Mississippi’s 15-week prohibition on most abortions, saying a decision to uphold it would “invite states to ban abortion entirely.”
If the court upholds the Mississippi law, it would lead quickly to the elimination of abortion services in large sections of the Midwest and South, where states have aggressively pursued abortion restrictions, the providers told the court.
The Mississippi 15-week law was enacted in 2018, but was blocked after a federal court challenge. The state’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, remains open and offers abortions up to 16 weeks of pregnancy. About 100 abortions a year are done after the 15th week, the providers said.
More than 90% of abortions in the U.S. take place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The state has said its law would not affect many women, but the providers countered by saying that argument “is at odds with the recognition of constitutional rights in general. The very essence of a constitutional right is that the government cannot outright prohibit a certain subset of people, no matter how small, from exercising that right.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.