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Supreme Court to hear abortion case that could upend Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court of United States said Monday that it will hear a case next fall that could narrow the scope of Roe v. Wade

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The Supreme Court is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington.

In this June 29, 2020, file photo, the Supreme Court is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Patrick Semansky, Associated Press

The Supreme Court of the United States said Monday that it would hear a Mississippi abortion rights case, which could lead the conservative-leaning court to diminish the scope of woman’s right to an abortion provided in Roe v. Wade.

The Mississippi case — Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — is about a state law that would ban nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, The Associated Press reported.

  • In 1973’s Roe decision, the Supreme Court ruled that women have the right to an abortion “pre-viability without undue interference from the state,” according to the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute.
  • A human fetus is generally considered viable, or able to live outside of a mother’s womb, after 24 weeks of gestation.
  • In Monday’s decision to hear Dobbs, the Supreme Court said it would only consider “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”

How Dobbs made it to the Supreme Court

In 2018, a federal district court in Mississippi blocked the state’s abortion law, while a panel of three U.S. Court of Appeals judges later upheld the district court’s decision, according to The New York Times.

  • “The state chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional to endorse a decadeslong campaign, fueled by national interest groups, to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade,” wrote federal district Judge Carlton W. Reeves at the time, the Times reported. “This court follows the commands of the Supreme Court and the dictates of the United States Constitution, rather than the disingenuous calculations of the Mississippi Legislature.”
  • “States may regulate abortion procedures prior to viability so long as they do not impose an undue burden on the woman’s right, but they may not ban abortions. The law at issue is a ban,” U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Patrick Higginbotham wrote of the panel’s decision agree with the district court, the AP reported.

The Supreme Court will likely argue the Dobbs case this fall and make a decision next spring, according to the AP.