U.S. Supreme Court hears challenge to Roe v. Wade


Crowds celebrate and wave flags while listening to the band music at the Salute to America event Thursday, July 4, 2019, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Official White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

In a development that has been expected ever since President Trump nominated three candidates to the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices have agreed to take up a challenge to the abortion free-for-all created by Roe v. Wade, in this case a Mississippi dispute.

In an unsigned order the court said it would hear the case, but it also decided to limit its scope to one question, whether “all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortion are unconstitutional.”

Its announcement Monday opens the door for a the possibility of state-adopted restrictions on those procedures.

“Every human life is valuable, and Mississippi’s law is a commonsense step toward protecting unborn children and their mothers from the harms of late-term abortion,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Denise Harle.

“The law protects the life of a baby who can already move around and kick in her mom’s womb – a child who has a heartbeat, can taste what her mom eats, and can experience pain. And the law also protects women, since late-term abortions grow increasingly dangerous to the mother’s health. Women and their children both deserve real health care; that’s why we’re glad the Supreme Court has decided to take up this matter.”

The case is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and concerns the state’s Gestational Age Act, a law that protects the health of pregnant mothers, the dignity of unborn and the integrity of the medical profession by limiting abortions after 15 weeks in gestational age.

Under that law, those are permitted only in medical emergencies or for severe fetal abnormality.

According to the ADF, the state argues that “viability” is an arbitrary standard for determining when a state’s interests are sufficient to regulate, and that the Supreme Court has already recognized that the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the unborn infant and the health of the mother from the very beginning of pregnancy.

Mississippi’s law highlights a conflict between the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade and the court’s repeated affirmation in subsequent cases that states have a legitimate interest in limiting abortion and protecting “vulnerable and innocent life” from the moment of conception, the ADF explained.

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that states are free to regulate late-term abortions,” said ADF Senior Counsel John Bursch. “Thanks to amazing progress in scientific research and medical technology, the concept of ‘viability’ is an ever-moving target as younger children have survived and thrived after preterm birth. But ‘viability’ has never been a legitimate way to determine a developing infant’s dignity or to decide anybody’s legal existence. The high court should take this important opportunity to resolve the conflicts between its previous rulings and affirm the constitutionality of Mississippi’s law.”

The Washington Examiner explained the case is the latest challenge to Roe’s precedent, which technically allows abortion at any time for any reason.

“Last summer, the court weighed in on a major abortion case in Louisiana, where Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal wing to deal a blow to anti-abortion activists,” the report said.

The report said it was Trump’s third appointment to the court, Amy Coney Barrett, that gave pro-life advocates “hope that cases such as the one in Mississippi might prove winnable.

Trump’s earlier appointments were Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

“This is a landmark opportunity for the Supreme Court to recognize the right of states to protect unborn children from the horrors of painful late-term abortions,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Across the nation, state lawmakers acting on the will of the people have introduced 536 pro-life bills aimed at humanizing our laws and challenging the radical status quo imposed by Roe. It is time for the Supreme Court to catch up to scientific reality and the resulting consensus of the American people as expressed in elections and policy.”

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