Supreme Court sets date for pleadings in Mississippi abortion case – JURIST – News

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The Supreme Court of the United States announcement Monday that he will hear the arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Wednesday, December 1. Following Texas’ six-week abortion ban, Dobbs has become a long-awaited decision that could affirm or eliminate the right to abortion established by Roe vs. Wade in 1973.

In 2018, Jackson Women’s Health Org. disputed the law on gestational age, prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks. The trial court issued summary judgment for the plaintiffs, and Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer for the Mississippi Department of Health, appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the fifth circuit. The court of appeal ruled the act unconstitutional. Dobbs filed a motion in writ of certiorari on June 15, 2020. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, corn the pleadings suffered several delays.

In his brief, Jackson Women’s Health Org. cites a historical case Planned Parenthood v. Casey as proof that “nearly fifty years of precedent [holds] that it is unconstitutional to ban abortion before viability.

Dobbs argues that Mississippi law “protects the health of women, the dignity of unborn children and the integrity of the medical profession and society” and therefore should not be analyzed under the excessive demand test set out in Casey. The test concludes that a law is unconstitutional when it imposes an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion. Dobbs claims the court established a new test in Whole Women’s Health c. Hellerstedt in 2016. There, the court weighed the burden of restricting abortion “against the benefits of the law”.

Dobbs also questions the wisdom of using fetal viability to measure the legality of abortion, arguing that a 24-week-old fetus would not have been viable in the 1970s but would be today. Jackson Women’s Health Org. maintains that the viability line is “applicable” and has remained the same since 1992.

More than 70 amicus briefs have been filed in this case by organizations and individuals. Senators Josh Hawley, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, and a myriad of religious organizations have written in favor of a recognized right to life. Groups like the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and the Freedom From Religion Foundation have submitted briefs in support of the Jackson Women’s Health Org.


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