Senin, 17 Mei 2021

The US Supreme Court has taken up a major challenge to abortion rights. So what happens next? - ABC News

The US Supreme Court has agreed to take on an abortion case that could alter nearly 50 years of rulings on abortion rights.

With three justices appointed by president Donald Trump part of a 6-3 conservative majority (including Amy Coney Barrett, who replaced the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg), the court is taking on a case about whether states can ban abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb.

Mississippi is not asking the court to overrule the 1973 Roe v Wade decision confirming a woman's right to an abortion.

Instead, it is asking to be allowed to enforce an abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

But abortion rights supporters say that even if the court does not explicitly overrule earlier cases, a decision favourable to the state could lay the groundwork for further restrictions.

What's the Roe v Wade case?

Roe v Wade was the landmark Supreme Court case that legalised abortion nationwide in the United States in 1973.

It was brought by Texas woman Norma McCorvey, using the pseudonym Jane Roe, who was unmarried, pregnant and wanted an abortion, but was unable to legally procure one within the state at the time.

At the time, states were able to set their own abortion laws and it was only legal to terminate a pregnancy in Texas if it presented a serious risk to the mother's life.

In the Roe v Wade decision, subsequently reaffirmed in 1992, the court said that states could not ban abortion before the viability of the fetus outside the womb, which is generally viewed by doctors as between 24 and 28 weeks.

The Mississippi law would ban abortion after 15 weeks, while other states have backed laws that would ban the procedure earlier.

Norma McCorvey and her attorney Gloria Allred leave the Supreme Court in 1989
The case was brought by Texas woman Norma McCorvey (left), using the pseudonym Jane Roe.(

AP: J Scott


Could this be the case that overturns it?

The case is an appeal from Mississippi in which the state is asking to be allowed to ban most abortions at the 15th week of pregnancy.

Protesters standing out the front of the US Supreme Court building holding signs which read "Face it...Abortion kills a person"
If the court upholds Mississippi’s law, it could lay the groundwork for allowing even more restrictions on abortion (file photo).(

Reuters: Joshua Roberts


If the court upholds Mississippi's law, it would be its first ratification of an abortion ban before the point of viability, when a fetus can survive outside the womb.

Such a ruling could lay the groundwork for further restrictions on abortion.

What happens if Mississippi wins?

If Mississippi wins, it gets to enforce its 15-week ban, which lower courts have so far prohibited.

A decision that states can limit pre-viability abortions could also embolden states to pass more restrictions, which some states have already done and which are already wrapped up in legal challenges. Challenges to those limits would continue.

US Supreme Court abortion ruling
If Mississippi wins, it gets to enforce its 15-week ban, which lower courts have so far prohibited.(

Pete Marovich / Getty Images


That said, the immediate practical impact of a win for Mississippi could be muted.

That's because more than 90 per cent of abortions already take place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Is there a likely outcome?

Mississippi would seem to have the upper hand, both because the justices agreed to hear the case in the first place and because of the makeup of the court.

After the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September and her replacement by conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, conservatives hold six of the court's nine seats.

Justice Barrett, one of Mr Trump's three appointees to the court, is the most open opponent of abortion rights to join the court in decades.

Mr Trump's other two appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, voted in dissent last year to allow Louisiana to enforce restrictions on doctors that could have closed two of the state's three abortion clinics.

Justice Samuel Alito would also be expected to be a vote for Mississippi, while Justice Clarence Thomas is on record in support of overturning Roe v Wade.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in the Capitol.
After the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September and her replacement by conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, conservatives hold six of the court’s nine seats.(

Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call


When will there be a decision?

The court has finished its calendar of scheduled oral arguments for now and is issuing decisions before taking a break for the summer.

The court will resume hearing arguments in October, and this case will probably be argued in autumn in the US.

A decision would likely come in the spring of 2022 (sometime between March and June) during the campaign for congressional midterm elections.


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2021-05-17 20:59:04Z

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