Medical Technology

Supreme Court Open to Cases That Could Overturn Roe V Wade

On Wednesday the majority of U.S. Supreme Court Justices seemed to be open to the idea that abortion is not a constitutional right or states have the authority to terminate an unborn baby.

The justices heard arguments from lawyers for and against a Mississippi law that, with a some exceptions, prohibits abortion after 15 weeks. They argued that a fetus is viable outside the womb after that point. The Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v Wade decision and legal rulings in the decades since, including the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, have said that abortion should be available to the point of viability–established as about 23 weeks.

The court also decided in Casey that state laws could not impose an “undue burden” on a woman’s ability to seek an abortion.

The Mississippi attorney general initially did not seek to overturn Roe and Casey, but later argued in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization that both cases were wrongly decided and should be completely overturned.

“It is an egregiously incorrect decision that has brought immense harm on our country, and will continue doing it, and will take countless lives until the court decides to overrule them,” stated Scott G. Stewart (Mississippi’s solicitor general).

The Supreme Court rejected the Mississippi case. However it did not reach an agreement to overturn Roe and Casey. However the justices’ biases were clear during the hearing. It is possible they would decide to dismiss these landmark cases.

Justice Clarence Thomas asked repeatedly for the law’s challengers to point out where the right to an abortion was stipulated in the Constitution, as did Justice Samuel Alito.

“If we were talking about the Second Amendment, I know exactly what we’re discussing If we’re talking about the Fourth Amendment, I know the subject matter, because it’s written, it’s there,” said Thomas. “What specifically is the right here that we’re talking about?” He asked U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.

She said the right to choose was a part of the 14 th amendment’s guarantee of the pursuit of liberty.

“If this Court renounces the liberty interest recognized in Roe and confirms it in Casey the decision will be a radical reversal of individual rights,” and a departure from court doctrine of defending precedent, referred to as stare decisis, she said.

Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to be opposed to the decision to throw out any of the famous abortion cases, but wanted to focus on whether 15 weeks was an appropriate time frame. Roberts seemed to be the only one who was focusing on this issue.

“Roberts appear desperate for a restricting principle that’s not going to reverse Roe and none of the other conservative justices are pursuing,” tweeted Mary Ziegler, historian who has written about abortion.

But justices Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh all appeared to be receptive to the notion that the prior precedent set by Roe and Casey could be overturned.

Neil Katyal, the former U.S. acting solicitor general and an Supreme Court lawyer, tweeted during the arguments that he observed “nothing that has been a lot of a sway with the contestants. There was an abundance of hostile conduct.

He cautioned that oral arguments are often a way lawyers can better understand their position.

If Roe is overturned 22 states

have laws already on the books that could be used to limit abortions, according the Guttmacher Institute. The majority of abortions would be banned in 12 states that have”trigger” laws “trigger” laws: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

Seventeen states have restrictions on abortion that have been unenforced or blocked by courts that could be reinstated in the event that Roe is deemed null and void. An additional seven states have laws in place to limit abortion in absence of Roe and four states have passed constitutional amendments that specifically deny the right to abortion.

Guttmacher reports that 15 states have passed laws protecting the right to abortion, and so has Washington, D.C.

Jackson Women’s Health — the sole provider in the state for abortion was sued to stop the Mississippi law as soon as it was approved. A federal judge ruled against Mississippi and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed the ruling. The court also issued a permanent injunction to stop the law. In May 2021, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Mississippi’s appeal.

In November, the Supreme Court heard arguments on two cases that challenged the validity of a Texas law. Whole Woman’s Health against Jackson and U.S. Texas v Whole Woman’s Health. The justices seemed receptive to the idea that the law, SB 8, was unconstitutional. But the court didn’t allow a request from the Biden administration to stop the law while the legal challenges made their way through the courts.

Content Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/963963?src=rss

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