The fate of millions of babies’ lives rests with the U.S. Supreme Court today as it prepares to hear a major abortion case out of Mississippi.
At 10 a.m., the justices are scheduled to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health and decide whether states may protect unborn babies from abortions.
For decades, under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, states have been prohibited from banning abortions before viability. As a result, about 63 million unborn babies and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of mothers have died in supposedly “safe,” legal abortions. Now the Supreme Court has agreed to re-consider this precedent and decide “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortion are unconstitutional.”
The Mississippi law at the center of the case would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a point at which most Americans agree unborn babies should be protected under the law.
On Tuesday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves told Fox News that Americans know so much more about unborn babies than they did 50 years ago when Roe was decided.
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“The science has changed,” Reeves said. “Here’s what we know about a child at 15 weeks: We know that that child has a heartbeat. We know that that child pumps multiple quarts of blood every single day. We know that that baby is developing its lungs. We know that that baby can squeeze its hands, its fingers. And we know that that baby can feel pain.”
In her brief to the Supreme Court, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch described the “brutal realities” of abortion as well as facts about human development at the earliest stages of pregnancy, according to Christianity Daily.
She told the court that Roe v. Wade “has no basis” in the U.S. Constitution, and states should be allowed to protect unborn babies from abortion again.
“[Roe] took abortion policymaking out of the hands of the people,” Fitch wrote in a Nov. 28 op-ed in the Washington Post. “It set it apart from all sorts of other difficult policy issues and created a special set of rules that have acted to keep abortion policy behind the bench, where unelected judges decide the fate of the people’s laws.”
If the Supreme Court overturns or modifies Roe, states could 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.
Dr. Tara Sander Lee of the Charlotte Lozier Institute told Fox News that the law needs to catch up with the science.
Fifty years ago, “the unborn could barely be seen inside the womb via grainy black and white ultrasound images while now-debunked science claimed the unborn couldn’t feel pain,” Sander Lee said. “After Roe, advancements in fetal ultrasound developed rapidly, paving the way to see the unborn with clarity, allowing the diagnosis of fetal malformations with more accuracy and surgical repair of some conditions inside the womb.”
In its case to the Supreme Court, Mississippi points to this science to argue that states should at least be allowed to protect unborn babies from abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy, as most other countries do. 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.
Yet, because of Roe, the United States is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortion on demand after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Most countries, including in Europe, have laws that protect unborn babies from abortion after the first trimester, if not sooner.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the Mississippi case Wednesday morning. A ruling likely will be published in the spring or summer of 2022.