The return of law making to legislators by the Supreme Court has been going on for a long time.
Mississippi is the center of national attention today as the US Supreme Court prepares to consider oral arguments on December 1 for a case that could release the judicial death grip on abortion politics.
Forces on both sides of the abortion issue are gathering their arguments as the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi, a case originating in Mississippi that creates an opportunity for the court to reconsider decades of misguided abortion jurisprudence.
Resetting our nation’s approach to abortion will depend on how the court views the Mississippi law prohibiting abortion after 12 weeks. This law is rooted in the fact that much has changed since 1973 when the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade.
Technology has advanced. For example, significant advances in neonatal care since the 1970s have meant that babies can live earlier and when born earlier. The point of viability – when a baby can survive when born – has risen from 28 weeks at the time of crying to the point where babies born at 22 weeks today have a better chance of survival.
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For another, the wonders of ultrasound technology have shown the clear humanity of unborn babies in the early days of pregnancy through amazingly clear sonogram images. At the time of crying, fetal ultrasound could only produce blurry images and was not commonly used.
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Today, we also know about the dangers of late miscarriage. It is now well established that the later in pregnancy a woman seeks for an abortion, the more likely she is to face serious complications or even death. Compared to a miscarriage at eight weeks, the risk of death increases by 38% for each week a woman delays.
And we know more about fetal pain. Scientists have found evidence of unborn babies experiencing pain as early as 12 weeks of pregnancy. That’s why doctors use anesthesia to reduce that pain while performing fetal surgery.
In other areas of public policy, these dramatic advances would prompt Congress and state legislatures to update the laws. However, Roe v. Wade stops her from having an abortion. Federal courts have held that Roe made an explicit prohibition on any law governing abortion prior to viability. Therefore, unelected judges have barred lawmakers from making laws in this area.
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I am proud to be one of the members of the Mississippi Congressional Delegation who filed Friend Brief in support of the state of Mississippi in this matter. More than 200 members of the House and Senate signed our brief, which asks the court to uphold Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 12 weeks.
We filed this brief because Congress and the states have been able to address this issue better than the US Supreme Court. Our political branches can pass laws that reflect the different perspectives of Americans. And our political branches can update those laws to keep up with technological advances and the latest science.
It is up to the Supreme Court to legislate the long-pending legislators, who are ultimately accountable to the electorate. Legislators represent the people and are more sensitive towards them. If the public does not agree with the decisions taken by their MLAs, they can vote for them. However, the judges are not accountable to the people. His lifelong appointments also often alienate him from the public.
As a senator, as a woman, and as a mother, I believe the Dobbs case should lead the Supreme Court to overturn Rowe v. Wade and to bring the abortion issue back into the political process and ask unelected activist judges. Provides a significant opportunity to overcome.
Click here to read more from Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith