- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 22, 2021

The state of Mississippi asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to overturn its landmark case that declared abortion a constitutional right.

The state’s brief filed with the high court involves a case that the justices will hear during their next term, which begins in October.

The state argued its ban on abortions after 15 weeks is lawful under the Constitution and that the court’s ruling in the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade should be overturned because it’s outdated. 

The court held in Roe v. Wade that women have a right to an abortion, a ruling was later reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992.

“Roe and Casey are egregiously wrong. The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition,” wrote Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch in the brief.

The legal battle was brought by Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s only abortion clinic, and a doctor who provides abortions. 

They challenged the state’s Gestational Age Act enacted in 2018. The law bans abortions after 15 weeks unless there was a medical emergency or severe abnormality within the fetus.

A federal district court sided with the abortion clinic and the doctor and issued an injunction halting the law from being enforced. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision.

Mississippi officials took the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that the state has an interest in protecting women’s health.

At least four of the nine justices voted to hear the case and the court announced in May it would review the matter. A specific date for oral arguments has not yet been scheduled.

The high court will decide whether bans on elective abortion before a fetus is viable, like the Mississippi law, are constitutional and give states the right to set their own abortion laws.

Several other states have passed increasingly strict laws aimed at cutting back on abortion.

North Dakota aimed to limit abortion after six weeks, and Arkansas moved to ban abortion after 12 weeks. Both states had federal courts bat down their bans in 2015. The high court declined to take those cases in recent years.

Most recently, Texas enacted a law banning abortion at six weeks and allows private citizens to sue abortion providers for violating the law. Pro-choice groups challenged that legislation in federal court last month.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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