The Supreme Court announced Monday it will hear a case Dec. 1 involving a restrictive Mississippi abortion law — marking a possible test of the justices’ position on the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion across the nation.
Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, passed in 2018 but blocked by two federal courts, allows abortion after 15 weeks “only in medical emergencies or for severe fetal abnormality” and has no exception for rape or incest. If performed outside those parameters, doctors will have their medical licenses suspended or revoked and may be subject to additional penalties and fines, CNN reported.
The high court decision in 1973 ruled abortions were permitted before viability, at around 24 weeks of a pregnancy, CNN noted.
In a brief filed in July, Mississippi’s GOP Attorney General Lynn Fitch argued Roe v. Wade should be overturned.
“The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition” Fitch told the justices, calling the case for overturning Roe “overwhelming.”
Julie Rikelman, a lawyer for the Center for Reproductive Health — representing Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only licensed abortion facility in Mississippi, and the clinic’s medical director, Sacheen (Carr-Ellis) Nathan — told the justices earlier this month they should decline the request to “jettison a half-century of settled precedent and to abandon a rule of law that this Court has said uniquely implicates the country’s confidence in the Judiciary,” CNN reported.
The justices agreed to hear the case in May, a decision bolstered with three of former President Donald Trump’s appointees.
CNN noted the Mississippi dispute comes to the court as another hot-button case makes its way through the legal landscape.
While the justices consider the Mississippi case over the next few months ahead of hearing oral arguments in December, a majority already refused to block a six-week abortion ban in Texas.