The US Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in the most important abortion rights case since the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Rowe v Wade, which effectively legalized abortion in the US.
The case, Dobbs v. Jackson, pits the leadership of the Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi, against the state’s last abortion clinic. The state seeks a ban on abortion after 15 weeks of gestation and asks the Supreme Court to reverse the row.
Here are five key pieces from important court sessions.
Conservative justices indicate support for Mississippi abortion restrictions
Some conservative judges indicated readiness to support Mississippi and threaten Roe. Justice Brett Kavanaugh appeared to challenge the principle of precedent and listed several landmark cases where the court overturned previous decisions, such as the Brown v Board of Education on school segregation.
Donald Trump-nominated Justice Amy Connie Barrett, such as Kavanaugh, suggested that adoption services could eliminate the need for abortion by removing the burden of “forced parenting.”
Veteran Justice Clarence Thomas challenged the notion that abortion is a constitutional right, saying it did not explicitly stipulate that the Second Amendment is on the “right to bear arms.”
Conservatives question embryo viability line, unclear on reversing the cry
Chief Justice John Roberts asked what would be the effect of pushing the row limit [allowing termination until a fetus is viable outside the womb, around 24 weeks] Back earlier in pregnancy.
“If you think the issue is of choice … feasibility … has nothing to do with choice. If it’s really an issue about choice, why 15 weeks [Mississippi’s limit] Not enough time?” he said.
Justice Samuel Alito questioned whether the viability of the embryo was even an appropriate line to be drawn by the court.
“If a woman wants to be free from the burden of pregnancy, that interest doesn’t disappear the moment the viability line is crossed,” he said.
Liberals defend precedent, test religious motive
Justice Elena Kagan said that a major goal of the precedent is “to prevent people from thinking that this court is a political institution depending on which part of the public shouts the loudest … usually, There needs to be a strong justification in such a case, beyond the fact that you feel the case is false.”
Barack Obama-nominated Justice Sonia Sotomayor, like Kagan, indicated that she believed in Mississippi’s motive in restricting abortion. is religious, They feared being another threat to the examples that protect birth control access and the rights of same-sex marriage.
And Justice Stephen Breyer quoted from the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision that confirmed Roe.
“In the absence of the most compelling reason to re-examine the watershed decision, the legality of the court to douse the fire would not be beyond any serious question,” he said.
“What’s really new here?”
Liberal Justice asked what is novel about the Mississippi case when so many others have not changed precedent.
“Not much has changed since Roe and Casey,” said Kagan. “The reasons why people agree or not are the same reasons they always had… aren’t we in the exact same place except we have 50-year-old women trusting in this right?”
Sotomayor said: “Fifteen judges of over 30 years have upheld the original feasibility line … 15 of varying political backgrounds.”
Liberals warn that public trust in the institution is faltering
Sotomayor suggested that overturning Roe v Wade could dent public confidence in the court as a nonpartisan body – Trump’s three conservative candidates (Neil Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Connie Barrett) tilted the majority to the increasingly right .
She told Solicitor General Scott Stewart of Mississippi: “The sponsors of this bill … are saying in Mississippi ‘We’re doing this because we have new judges on the Supreme Court’. Will this institution survive the stench that it causes? What arises in the perception of the people that the Constitution and its studies are just political acts?”
She continued: “If people believe it’s all political… how will the court survive?”
Breuer said the risk in such a “super case” is that the American public will treat the judges as “just politicians.”
“That’s what kills us,” he said.