Pro-lifers hope High Court sets date for abortion ban arguments

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WASHINGTON (BP) – Southern Baptists and other life advocates have welcomed news that a date has been set for arguments before the United States Supreme Court in the world’s largest abortion case for almost three decades.

The High Court announced Monday, September 20 that oral argument is scheduled for December 1 at Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which involves the Mississippi Gestational Age Act of 2018. The law, which was struck down by lower courts, prohibits abortions of unborn children above 15 weeks gestational age.

The judges said they would limit their decision to whether, as the state told the court, “all predictability bans on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” The viability of an unborn child, or the ability to survive outside the womb, is generally considered to be several weeks past the limit set by Mississippi law.

The main opinions of the High Court which reviewed the abortion law—Roe vs. Wade in 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 — prohibit states from banning abortions before an unborn child is viable. The Roe ruling legalized abortion across the country, while Casey affirmed Roe deer but allowed some state regulation of the procedure.

Notice in favor of Mississippi’s 15-week ban could potentially overturn both Roe deer and Casey explicitly or seriously jeopardize these decisions. The ruling is expected to be made before the High Court adjourns next summer.

The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Commission (ERLC) and other pro-life organizations have joined in Mississippi to urge the High Court not only to uphold the state’s ban, but also to overturn Roe and Casey.

“We are approaching a critical moment in our nation’s history (in a case which) could potentially end legal precedents in Roe deer and CaseySaid Chelsea Sobolik, director of public policy at ERLC.

“The Scriptures make it clear that all lives have innate dignity and worth and must be fully protected by law,” she said in written comments. “The Dobbs case provides an opportunity for our country’s highest court to come to the same conclusion and affirm the fundamental right to life for all human beings, from conception.

Kenny Digby, executive director-treasurer of the Mississippi Christian Action Commission (CAC), said the state ban is “well-written, well-written law, and basically we are tinged pink,” the High Court has scheduled oral arguments.

“We’re thrilled with any legislation that means (fewer) abortions than more abortions, but man, having that in court in oral pleadings is a huge step in and of itself,” he said. during a telephone interview.

“I think there has been a tightrope law for a long time … It’s like (federal judges and appellate courts) legally agree that state-level restrictions are workable for a number. reasons, but they didn’t really want to look at the root cause of it all, and it’s a bad decision (in Roe deer). ”

The Mississippi CAC is an agency of the Mississippi Baptist Convention.

Denise Harle, senior lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom, said in an email interview: “It’s hard to speculate what the tribunal will do, but we know this: Roe and Casey’s framework is not working – c ‘is one of the reasons we see so many laws and subsequent lawsuits.

“The court rulings in these cases have created decades of confusion and legal chaos. The court should absolutely recognize that life is a human right and protect the unborn child, as the Mississippi has sought to do here. “

In a July brief for the state, Lynn Fitch, Mississippi’s first female attorney general, told judges they should quash the Roe deer and Casey decisions because they are “extremely bad”, “hopelessly unworkable” and “have caused significant damage”.

Roe deer “Chains states to a view of decades-old facts, so that while science, medicine, technology and culture have all advanced rapidly since 1973, properly enacted abortion laws are unable to keep pace “Fitch said in a written statement Monday. . “With Dobbs, the Supreme Court can return decision-making on abortion policy to elected leaders and empower people to empower women and promote life. “

Abortion rights advocates filed more than 50 friend of the court briefs on Monday urging judges to overturn the Mississippi ban. Those who submitted briefs included the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, more than 6,600 women who have had abortions, and more than 500 current and former professional college and high school athletes and coaches, as well as organizations.

On behalf of the Biden administration, Acting Solicitor General Brian Fletcher said in a friend of the court brief filed on Monday the longstanding precedents of Roe deer and Casey require the High Court to uphold the “central conclusion” of the Roe decision, which it says “remains clear and achievable”.

In this case, the Supreme Court is fortunate enough to master a legal regime inaugurated nearly 50 years ago that has made the United States one of the most permissive countries in the world with regard to the right to abortion. . A study published in July by the Charlotte Lozier Pro-Life Institute showed that 47 out of 50 European countries do not allow elective abortions or limit them to 15 weeks or earlier.

In July, the ERLC and five other religious organizations joined a friend of the court brief filed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops which told the Supreme Court of its decision in the Roe deer and Casey opinions that prohibited states from banning abortions before an unborn child is viable “are deeply flawed. These decisions, to the extent that they hamper the ability of states to ban abortion prior to viability, should be overturned. “

The brief stated that the US Constitution “does not create a right to abortion an unborn child before viability or at any other stage of pregnancy. A claimed right to abortion has no basis in a constitutional text or in American history and tradition.

The Mississippi ban allows an exception for threats to life or “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” of the mother. It also allows an exception for a “serious fetal abnormality” which “is incompatible with life outside the womb”.

The High Court also announced Carson vs. Makin, an important case of religious freedom, will be debated on December 8. In that case, the ERLC joined a friend of the court brief filed on September 10 that called on the High Court to strike down a Maine tuition assistance program that bans the participation of schools that provide denominational education.


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