US Supreme Court Poised to Limit Abortions
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – In a historic move, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority indicated Wednesday they would allow states to ban abortion much earlier in pregnancy. The opinion could even overturn the nationwide abortion right that has existed for nearly half a century.
The nine justices led arguments that could decide the fate of the court’s historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion throughout the United States. It would also impact its 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe.
All six conservative justices, including three appointed by former President Donald Trump, indicated they would uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
They made their opinions known after nearly two hours of arguments, with crowds of protestors chanting for and against abortion rights chanting outside the Court building.
In Wednesday’s Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Chief Justice John Roberts repeatedly questioned whether the “viability line” was essential to the case.
He asked Julie Rikelman with the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights why 15 weeks – which is nine weeks before viability outside the womb – is “not enough time.”
ISSUE OF CHOICE?
“If you think that the issue is one of choice … viability, it seems to me, doesn’t have anything to do with choice,” he said.
More than 90 percent of abortions are performed in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If it is an issue about choice, why is 15 weeks not enough time?” Roberts asked.
His approach appeared welcome news for Mississippi, which pressed the Court to accept its abortion legislation.
It wants the Court to dismiss the 50-year-old precedent allowing abortions in a later stage as well as precedent established in a separate case, Planned Parenthood v Casey case. The precedents effectively prohibit states from placing an “undue burden” on abortion access.
However, in her opening remarks, liberal justice Sonia Sotomayor grilled Mississippi solicitor general Scott Stewart about the overt politics of the abortion case before them.
Sotomayor referred to more than a dozen justices over 30 years affirming Roe and Casey cases. She aimed at Republican state lawmakers looking to strip away “such rights” due to the new conservative makeup on the court.
“Now the sponsors of this bill … are saying, ‘We’re doing this because we have new justices on the Supreme Court.’ Will this institution survive the stench this creates in the public perception that the constitution and its reading are just political acts?” she wondered.
“If people believe it’s all political, how will we survive? How will the court survive?” she said.
Sotomayor also asked, “when does the right of a woman and putting her at risk enter the calculus” when determining the law.
Abortion activists claim that impoverished women of color “would suffer” most under a broader abortion ban.
COURT ARGUMENTS GIVEN
Anti-abortion people argue that women are often not given choices to keep their child, with church groups offering care and counseling.
But in unusually strong terms for a high-court argument, Justice Stephen Breyer warned his colleagues they “better be damn sure” before throwing away established abortion decisions.
Public opinion polls show support for preserving Roe, but surveys also find backing for more significant restrictions on abortion.
The outcome probably won’t be known until next June, but the Supreme Court’s conservative justices seemed to move towards more abortion restrictions in the United States.
There were massive prayer rallies and Christian “pro-life” events against abortion, with activists demanding more support for women seeking to keep their child.
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