Pro-abortion rights activists hold a protest outside the Supreme Court Building in Washington ahead of the arguments in Dobbs (v. Jackson Women’s Health) in Mississippi, U.S.A. December 1, 2021.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority appeared to be ready to support Mississippi in its attempt to keep a ban on abortion for 15 weeks. This would break decades of precedent that protected abortion rights before viability.
In the case, oral arguments were heard by justices. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health OrganizationThis directly challenged the precedent for abortion rights established in 1973 Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and confirmed by 1992’s Planned Parenthood.
This case revolves around a Mississippi law which would prohibit almost all abortions within 15 weeks of pregnancy. Lower courts blocked the law, ruling that it violates Roe and Casey, which protect abortion before the point of fetal viability — around 24 weeks of gestation — and require that laws regulating abortion not pose an “undue burden.”
Mississippi is the case that represents the greatest challenge to abortion rights since decades.
Protesters against abortion rights protest outside of the Supreme Court Building, Washington, U.S.A. December 1, 2021.
Julie Rikelman was an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, who argued in favor Roe and Casey about the viability threshold. The conservative majority of the 6-3 questioned her.
Chief Justice John Roberts declared that viability “seems to me not to have any to do with choice.” If it is really a matter of choice, then why are 15 weeks so short?
Justice Brett Kavanaugh was one of the former presidents Donald TrumpThe court’s three appointed judges expressed doubts that pregnant women and their fetuses will be protected.
“The problem, as I believe the other side would point out, and why this issue is difficult, is that it is impossible to accommodate both parties. The only way to make a choice is by choosing. Kavanaugh said that the problem was fundamental. The Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar also opposed Mississippi.
“One interest must prevail over another at all times, which is why I find this so difficult, I believe. The question is, “What does the Constitution have to say about this?” Kavanaugh stated.
The nine-member court’s three liberal justices raised alarms, warning that reverse Roe and Casey could damage public perceptions of the high judiciary and, thus, the institution.
Will this institution survive the stigma that it creates among the public that the Constitution is a mere collection of political statements? Sonia Sotomayor was one of three liberal justices at the commencement of oral arguments in an appeal against Roe V. Wade and Planned Parenthood.
Sotomayor stated, “I don’t see how that is possible.”
Roe, Casey and other “watershed decisions” — such as Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled segregation unconstitutional — have created an “entrenched set of expectations in our society,” Sotomayor said.
As oral arguments in Dobbs-v. Jackson Womens Health Organization are being held, reproductive rights activists will cut photos of Justices Brett Kavanaugh (left) and Amy Coney Barrett (right).
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“If it really is political then how can we survive?” What will happen to the court? She asked.
Scott Stewart, Mississippi Solicitor General said that the courts should not appear politicized to prevent the appearance of an overly-political court.
Stewart claimed Roe and Casey haunt our country, and that abortion rights are not protected in the Constitution. Stewart said that they were supported by “abstract ideas” which the Supreme Court “has rejected elsewhere.”
Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan (liberal justices) questioned Stewart over the reason for undoing the three-decade-old court precedent.
Kagan explained that to change a well-established precedent, it is necessary for “usually” to provide a reason, or strong justification. He added that opinions on Roe and Casey cases have not changed much since their inception.
Breyer explained that justices in super cases like these are viewed by the American public as just politicians.
Breyer stated, “That’s the thing that kills us.”
A huge protestor crowd gathered outside of the Supreme Court to oppose the abortion rights fight, which is polarizing and controversial.
A total of three dozen persons were arrested by the U.S. Capitol Police for blocking streets in this area. They are not related to lawful demonstrators demonstrating directly in front Capitol Hill.