The Supreme Court has decided to hear a major abortion case regarding a Mississippi law banning women from most abortions after 15 weeks.
In 2018, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill in law stating pregnancies after 15 weeks can only be aborted if there is a medical emergency or in cases in which there is a “severe fetal abnormality.” A woman would also still be banned from getting an abortion even if she was raped or the pregnancy happened due to incest. After being blocked in November 2018, it was upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in December 2019.
Right now, the Supreme Court has ruled that states may not ban abortions that happen prior to fetal viability, which is generally around 22 weeks or later, according to CNBC. What Mississippi wants is for the Supreme Court to review the viability standard. Mississippi claims the viability rule is preventing states from defending maternal health and potential life.
“It is well past time for the Court to revisit the wisdom of the viability bright-line rule,” Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch wrote in a brief that was filed with the justices, CNBC reports. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an abortion clinic in Mississippi against the law, has called for the court not to take the case. “In an unbroken line of decisions over the last fifty years, this Court has held that the Constitution guarantees each person the right to decide whether to continue a pre-viability pregnancy,” Hillary Schneller, an attorney representing the clinic, wrote in a filing.
Schneller went on to say that Mississippi’s argument was “based on a misunderstanding of the core principle of” previous Supreme Court decisions. She added that “while the State has interests throughout pregnancy, ‘[b]efore viability, the State’s interests are not strong enough to support a prohibition of abortion.'”