U.S. Supreme Court Signals Support for Restricting Abortion in Landmark Mississippi Case

A majority of the United States Supreme Court signaled their support for curbing abortion access during oral arguments on Dec. 1 in a case that directly threatens its landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

The Supreme Court heard nearly two hours of debate in the case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which focuses on whether the state of Mississippi can ban abortion at 15 weeks of gestation, roughly nine weeks before bans are allowed under current law.

Both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito questioned the viability line that was set by the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, which established the constitutional right to abortion.

Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, controversially appointed by former President Donald Trump, said that the Constitution “is neither pro-life nor pro-choice on the question of abortion.”

Kavanaugh cited several of the Supreme Court’s major rulings to demonstrate that the high court had overturned its precedents, such as nullifying school segregation and legalizing same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, three liberal justices warned of negative consequences for the public’s perception of the court if it were to abandon important legal precedent.

Justice Stephen Breyer said that overturning the Roe v. Wade decision would “subvert the court’s legitimacy.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that Mississippi brought its legal case to the high court purely because of the conservative majority on the Supreme Court bench.

Sotomayor noted that since the Roe v. Wade decision, 15 justices reaffirmed the viability line while four — two of whom currently sit on the court — disagree.

“Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” Sotomayor asked.

The court is expected to issue a decision in June 2022.

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