The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on December 1 in Mississippi’s bid to have the Roe v. Wade decision overturned. On Monday, the court announced its schedule of arguments for late November and early December. The New York Post reports that Mississippi requests that the Supreme Court preserve the state’s prohibition on most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. The state has asked the court to overturn Roe v. Wade and the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which restrict states from banning abortion before viability, or when a baby can survive outside the womb, which occurs at about 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The Mississippi legislation was passed in 2018, but a federal court overturned it. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s only abortion clinic, is still open and provides abortions up to 16 weeks of pregnancy. According to the providers, about 100 abortions are performed after the 15th week annually. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 90% of abortions in the country happen in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.
The Supreme Court recently upheld a Texas statute prohibiting abortions once heart activity is found, occurring around six weeks of pregnancy. The legislation also permits people to sue those who may have assisted in the illegal abortion of a minor. The court, which was split 5-4, did not decide on the legislation’s legality but instead declined to halt enforcement while a legal challenge to the law was pending. Abortion providers are concerned that Mississippi wants the court to “scuttle a half-century of precedent and invite states to ban abortion entirely.”
A court brief was submitted by more than 500 female athletes in support of abortion rights, warning that ending access to abortion would be catastrophic to female athletes. Soccer star Megan Rapinoe, water polo gold medal olympian Ashleigh Johnson, WNBA all-star Diana Taurasi, and Olympic gold medal swimmer, Crissy Perham, are all named in the brief. Tennis legend Serena Williams is a cited authority in the brief for an op-ed she penned discussing her experience giving birth.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court announced that the justices would resume hearing arguments in their chamber in October, more than a year and a half after the in-person sessions were halted because of Covid-19. The court is permitting live audio of the proceedings, but the public will not be able to attend in person. Reporters who cover the court regularly will be in attendance.
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