The last abortion facility in Mississippi filed a brief Monday urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade and reject a state law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Jackson Women’s Health Organization and the Center for Reproductive Rights are suing to block the 2018 Mississippi pro-life law. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear their case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, later this year.
“The fallout would be swift and certain. As abortion bans are enforced – or the threat of enforcement looms – large swaths of the South and Midwest would likely be without access to legal abortion,” the pro-abortion groups argued this week in their brief, Newsmax reports. “People would be harmed, and chaos would ensue, even in states that claim not to be prohibiting abortion directly.”
They begged the court not to “jettison a half-century of settled precedent,” arguing that Roe v. Wade is “embedded” in “our national culture,” according to CNN.
Far from “settled,” abortion remains divisive and troubling to Americans nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court forced states to legalize it. Polls consistently show that a strong majority support protections for unborn babies greater than what the current precedent allows. For example, a recent AP-NORC poll found that 65 percent of Americans believe most or all second-trimester abortions should be illegal; the number increased to 80 percent in the third trimester.
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The question at the center of the Mississippi case is “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortion are unconstitutional.”
The current legal precedent focuses on viability, which is about 22 weeks of pregnancy. In Roe and later Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court prohibited states from banning abortions before an unborn baby is viable. As a result, the U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Pro-life leaders hope the Supreme Court will use the Mississippi case to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to protect unborn babies from abortion again.
Responding Monday, Ryan T. Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, said the pro-abortion groups’ argument was “surprisingly weak.”
“[It] just screams ‘precedent precedent!’ and ‘stare decisis stare decisis’ over and over. Almost as if there aren’t any better arguments at their disposal,” he wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said abortion activists are making another desperate attempt to distract Americans from the humanity of unborn babies.
“They insist there is ‘nothing to see here,’” Dannenfelser said. “But we know that by 15 weeks, an unborn baby’s heart has beat nearly 16 million times. She already shows a preference for her right or left hand, responds to taste, and can feel pain.”
She praised Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch for her work defending the law and the rights of unborn babies.
“Fifty years of unworkable jurisprudence has tied the hands of state lawmakers to follow the science and enact the will of their people in law,” Dannenfelser said. “Americans overwhelmingly agree that this status quo is too extreme.”
Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, nearly 63 million unborn babies have been legally aborted in the U.S.