J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Dec. 1 in a Mississippi case that tests whether all state laws that prohibit premature abortions are unconstitutional.
The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org, has the potential to pose a serious challenge to Roe vs. Wade. It is the 1973 decision which declared that a woman has the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy during the first six months of her pregnancy when the fetus is unable to survive outside the womb.
Mississippi bans most abortions after 15 weeks, well before fetal viability. A panel of the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals, one of the most conservative in the country, blocked law enforcement, finding it in conflict with Roe vs. Wade and subsequent abortion decisions.
Mississippi’s law is one of many that conservative states have passed in the past year or more, seeking to eliminate or severely restrict abortion. Pre-viability bans, abortion bans have been lifted, so far, in a dozen states since 2019, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Tennessee.
The court had agreed to hear the case in May. Today’s announcement sets a date for that decision.
The court’s announcement came weeks after the High Court allowed Texas to move forward – for now – with a new law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. This usually happens after six weeks, which is often before women even know they are pregnant.