- BBC World News
The US Supreme Court has accepted an appeal against the Mississippi veto on the termination of pregnancy after 15 weeks of gestation in a case that could have consequences throughout the country.
And it is that the verdict can put an end to the legal doctrine on which the right of women to abort in the country is based, known as Roe vs. Wade.
The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, challenges the constitutionality of abortions done after the 15th week.
The high court must decide in the coming months whether the fetus is viable outside the womb after 15 weeks.
It will be the first pregnancy termination case seen by Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative Catholic Court nominated by former President Donald Trump in 2020.
Conservatives have a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court.
When announcing the decision to see the case, the high court informed that it will review whether “all prohibitions of pre-feasibility on voluntary abortions are unconstitutional“.
If the Mississippi ban is upheld, it paves the way for tighter restrictions on abortion pushed by conservatives in the country.
“The alarms are sounding very loud about this threat to reproductive rights,” said Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights after the case was announced to the Supreme Court.
“The case that can end Roe vs Wade”
Anthony Zur analysischer, BBC News Washington
Anti-abortion activists have been waiting, sometimes impatiently, for a conservative-dominated Supreme Court to raise the case that could drive a stake through the heart of Roe v. Wade, the case on which the right to interrupt rests. pregnancy in the country.
On Monday, the court accepted.
Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban was written in direct defiance of the Supreme Court’s guidelines on the legality of abortion.
If the majority of judges decide that it is constitutional, it opens the way for other states to impose their limitations.
That the Supreme Court decides to admit the case after lower courts have declared the law unconstitutional suggests that at least four judges are open to doing just that.
Abortion has been one of the most politically charged issues that have been litigated in the courts in the last half century.
In 1973, the Roe case served to legalize first-trimester abortion across the country, spurring some modern conservative religious movements as well.
In 1992, a narrow majority dismissed a serious challenge to precedent in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.
The Mississippi resort has the potential to go down in history as one of those momentous cases. It could be the case that he ends Roe and puts the abortion issue back in the purview of the states.
What is Roe vs Wade?
In 1973, the Supreme Court legalized the voluntary termination of pregnancy in the United States.
By a vote of seven to two, the judges ruled that governments did not have the right to ban abortions.
The resolution was based on the decision that a woman’s right to end her pregnancy was a freedom of personal choice in family matters, protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
The case created the “quarter” system:
- It gives US women absolute freedom to abort in the first three months.
- It allows governments to regulate the second trimester of pregnancy.
- It states that states can restrict abortion in the last trimester to as the fetus approaches the point where it can be viable outside the womb.
Roe vs. Wade also established that in the last trimester, a woman can have an abortion if doctors certify that it is necessary to save her life or preserve her health.
Declaring Roe vs. Wade null would not make abortion illegal, but would allow each state to set its own regulations.
What power do states have?
Since Roe vs. Wade, the most conservative states have tried to bypass regulation and make their own rules.
Although the doctrine was upheld over time, states have gained the ability to restrict first-trimester abortion for non-medical reasons after the 1992 Planned Parenthood v Casey case.
State laws cannot pose an “undue obstacle” to women seeking an abortion; however, it is the woman who has to prove that the regulations constitute an attack on her right and not the authorities.
As a result, many states now have requirements in place such as that a young woman must involve her parents or a judge in her decision to abort.
Others have introduced waiting periods between the first clinic visit and the procedure.
The result is that many women are having to travel farther and farther to terminate their pregnancy, sometimes to other states, and pay more and more.
Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that required doctors who perform abortions to have “admission privileges,” a special form of membership, at nearby hospitals.
Critics believed that the controversial law could limit the number of providers in the state, violating women’s right to terminate pregnancy.
Last week, Texas joined the already at least 12 states that have passed rules to prohibit abortion after the fetal heartbeat is detected, something that can happen even before the woman realizes her condition. .
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research group, state lawmakers have introduced more than 500 abortion restrictions this year.
“The year 2021 is on its way to be defining in the history of abortion rights,” say the report’s authors.
Many of these measures have been challenged in court, which could lead to a future of legal confrontations in the Supreme Court like the one unleashed by the Mississippi law.
Who is going to decide in the Supreme Court?
The Supreme Court has grown increasingly conservative since the presidency of Trump, who replaced three justices in his four years in the White House.
On the campaign trail, Trump had pledged to nominate judges to overturn Roe vs. Wade and to make the abortion issue a state rather than a federal issue.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, who became a Supreme Court Justice in 2017, voted in 2020 in favor of abortion restrictions in Louisiana. As did Brett Kavanaugh, confirmed by the Senate in 2018.
Coney Barrett, a Supreme Court Justice since October 2020, has not seen abortion cases, but in the appeals court she voted in favor of a law to force doctors to inform the parents of a minor seeking an abortion, with no exceptions. .
As a law professor in 2016, she said she did not think abortion or the right to abort would change in the future.
“I think some restrictions will change,” he said. “The question is how much freedom the Supreme Court is going to give the states.”
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.