Anti-abortion advocates likely found some encouragement in oral arguments this week before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Justices are considering a potentially precedent-setting challenge to a Mississippi ban on abortions after 15 weeks and at least one conservative offered some revealing remarks.
“A question about the safe haven laws”
According to The Daily Wire, Justice Amy Coney Barrett suggested that even if landmark cases like Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are overturned by the current case before the court, women would still be left with various methods to avoid becoming a parent.
Specifically, she cited adoption and so-called safe haven laws that allow women to leave an unwanted child at a designated location with no questions asked.
Julie Rikelman, the senior director of the Center for Reproductive Rights, was addressing the court when Barrett chimed in.
“I have a question about the safe haven laws,” she said. “So petitioner points out that in all 50 states, you can terminate parental rights by relinquishing a child … and I think the shortest period might have been 48 hours if I’m remembering the data correctly.”
Given those facts, Barrett concluded that “the choice more focused would be between, say, the ability to get an abortion at 23 weeks or the state requiring the woman to go 15, 16 weeks more and then terminate parental rights at the conclusion.”
Barrett builds her case
Later on in her remarks, Barrett addressed adoption as another viable option that is too often neglected in discussions about abortion rights.
Pro-abortion advocates are challenging the Mississippi law while those on the other side of the debate are hoping that the Supreme Court will take the opportunity to overturn the Roe and Casey decisions.
To that end, some pundits believe Barrett was suggesting in her line of questioning that the Mississippi law does not pose an undue burden on pregnant women who have other options, including adoption.
Barrett is known to be a pro-life conservative, but it remains to be seen whether those values will result in a vote to overturn prior precedents establishing a right to receive an abortion. For the time being, pro-life Americans are taking her latest remarks as a possible sign that they will.
Oral arguments in the landmark case began this week but a decision is not expected until well into 2022.