Abortion rights are on line at the Supreme Court like it’s 1973, as the State of Mississippi asks the court to walk back the 1992 case which reaffirmed Roe v. Wade.
Mississippi passed a law in 2018 that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy – the end of the first trimester. This defies previous Supreme Court rulings, which have only allowed individuals states to ban abortion after 24 weeks – the earliest possible point when a fetus could potentially survive birth.
Mississippi governor Tate Reeves defended his state’s law before the Supreme Court on Sunday, calling for an outright overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“I believe, in a simple reading of the United States Constitution, that when Roe was decided in 1973 there is no fundamental right in our United States Constitution to an abortion,” Reeves said.
It’s a common conservative argument, but allowing it to stand also puts any other post-Revolution developments at risk, such as voting rights for women and people of color on one hand, and the Second Amendment on the other.
While the Supreme Court has staunchly defended abortion rights over the last nearly 50 years, this case lands on the desks of a 6-3 conservative majority court for the first time. Three of those justices are the personal appointees of former President Trump, who ran on a campaign of promises to appoint justices for the specific purpose of repealing Roe.
Most abortions, more than 90%, are performed in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Those performed later are almost exclusively in case of dire medical necessity, which Mississippi’s law does not make allowance for.
For most people in Mississippi below a certain income line, the question is moot anyway. Mississippi has one single abortion clinic, in Jackson. Insurance in Mississippi is legally not allowed to cover the procedure. So for the 20 percent of Mississippians who live below the poverty line, abortion is already unavailable. But the question remains vital to them, and to the rest of the country. It only takes one state to topple Roe v. Wade.
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