The Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 has been the law of the land in terms of legalized abortions, as challenges to overturn or substantially limit that ruling over the years having failed.
That could be about to change, however. On Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case involving a pro-life Mississippi law that banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, The Daily Caller reported.
Major ramifications for state abortion laws
The high court’s consideration of the case, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is expected to be narrow in scope, primarily focused on the constitutionality of state-level restrictions on abortion prior to the viability of an unborn baby, which is generally believed to be around 24 weeks gestation.
The law was first passed in 2018 and immediately challenged by the abortion clinic and pro-choice interest groups, resulting in the law being struck down in 2019 by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, prompting the final appeal to the Supreme Court.
Arguments in the case will likely take place in October and a decision rendered by June of 2022, according to The Daily Caller.
Unlikely to completely overturn Roe v. Wade
Unsurprisingly, pro-choice groups have amped up the fear-mongering and rallied abortion supporters with claims that Roe v. Wade could soon be overturned in its entirety.
Meanwhile, some pro-life groups, albeit from a much more positive viewpoint, have made similar arguments to supporters and suggested that this case could finally be the one to undo the terrible decision nearly 50 years ago that legalized the killing of unborn babies and has since been responsible for the deaths of tens of millions.
While the ruling will certainly be consequential either way, it seems highly unlikely that Roe v. Wade will be overturned entirely. Instead, given the narrow scope, it seems more likely that the court will set parameters on which stage in a pregnancy a state can set limits allowing or prohibiting abortion.
Majority favors some limitations
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), chair of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, said in a statement, “It is long past time for the Supreme Court to right this wrong and I am encouraged to see the Court announce it will take up this case,” according to Breitbart.
Other pro-life groups echoed Daines’ sentiment and cheered the news that there appeared to be a good opportunity to, if not overturn Roe v. Wade altogether, at least permit states to put in place limits that would ultimately reduce the time frame and the overall number of allowable abortions.
Doing so would actually be in line with the thinking of a majority of Americans, at least according to a 2019 Marist poll, which showed that 70% believed that, at the most, abortions should only be permitted within the first three months of pregnancy.
Needless to say, especially given the potential ramifications of this case, there will be a lot of coverage and debate over it from both sides of the issue in the coming year.