Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out how extreme American abortion law is compared to the rest of the world Wednesday as the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks.
Currently, Roe v. Wade and other Supreme Court rulings force states to legalize the killing of unborn babies for any reason up to viability, but the Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, directly challenges that precedent.
During oral arguments Wednesday morning, Roberts questioned why viability should be the line at which states are allowed to prohibit abortions and not earlier, Townhall reports.
“If you think that the issue is one of choice … viability, it seems to me, doesn’t have anything to do with choice. If it really is an issue about choice, why is 15 weeks not enough time?” he asked attorney Julie Rikelman who represents the Mississippi abortion facility Jackson Women’s Health Organization, according to the Independent.
Roberts then cited research from the Charlotte Lozier Institute that compares American abortion law to other countries’.
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“I’d like to focus on the 15-week ban because that’s not a dramatic departure from viability,” the chief justice said. “It is the standard that the vast majority of other countries have. When you get to the viability standard we share that standard with the People’s Republic of China and North Korea.”
Rikelman responded by claiming the comparison is not accurate, but even the left-leaning Washington Post fact checker determined it was true.
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the United States is one of just a few nations, including China and North Korea, that allow elective abortions more than halfway through pregnancy.
Stephen Billy, executive director of the institute, said he felt stunned when he heard Rikelman’s claims.
“The chief justice correctly cited CLI research that shows how Roe puts the United States in the same class with China and North Korea, allowing abortion-on-demand until the day of birth,” Billy responded, pointing to the Washington Post fact check.
“Despite Ms. Rikelman’s claims, the black-letter law is clear: 47 out of 50 European nations limit elective abortion prior to the 15-week limit proposed by Mississippi,” he continued.
Science has made it increasingly clear that unborn babies are unique, living and valuable human beings. By 15 weeks, unborn babies are nearly fully formed, with beating hearts and detectable brain waves, unique fingerprints and all their major organs. On ultrasounds, unborn babies at this stage can be seen sucking their thumbs, hiccupping and responding to noises.
Americans recognize this, too. Polls consistently show that a strong majority of Americans oppose abortions in the second and third trimesters and many support heartbeat laws that protect unborn babies at their earliest stage of life.
Pro-life advocates hope the Supreme Court will scale back or overturn Roe v. Wade in their ruling on the Mississippi case.
If they do, states would be allowed to protect unborn babies from abortion again, possibly from the moment of conception or at least after the first trimester, and groups estimate anywhere from a dozen to two dozen states would do so. As a result, thousands of babies could be spared from violent abortion deaths every year across America.
The high court is expected to publish its ruling on the case sometime next year, potentially June 2022.