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U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on Mississippi’s bid to overturn Roe v. Wade

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 9:54 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It’s a waiting game for Shannon Brewer, director of Jackson Women’s Health, which is Mississippi’s only abortion clinic.

The clinic is a defendant in a Supreme Court case that could change the trajectory for abortion rights in not only the Magnolia State but across the country.

In 2018, Mississippi legislatures passed a law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. The current standard under Roe v. Wade is 24 weeks.

“This is incredible. You can feel the care and compassion and love God has here to protect those unborn children and their mothers,” said Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch.

Pro-life and pro-choice advocates were out in huge numbers in the nation’s capital as the conservative-leaning court heard oral arguments in the case.

“It’s not a forgone decision,” said University of Memphis law professor Steve Mulroy. “It’s possible that the court could reaffirm the current law on abortion and invalidate Mississippi’s law because 15 weeks is shorter than the 24 weeks. I’m not saying that’s impossible, but based on the oral arguments today, it doesn’t seem very likely.”

Mulroy says the court could decide to rule the Mississippi law unconstitutional. It could also uphold the Mississippi law, thus making abortions after 15 weeks illegal, thus setting a new precedent in this country.

The court could also go as far as striking down Roe v. Wade altogether, putting abortion decisions solely in the hands of individual states.

“I think Republican legislators are poised and waiting for this decision,” said Mulroy.

Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi, along with over a dozen other states, all have so-called “trigger laws,” which would automatically ban most abortions in the state.

“When restrictions are placed particularly in states in the South, the people that are harmed are those that are underserved that do not have resources and are already struggling to make ends meet,” said Jennifer Pepper with Memphis-based abortion provider, ‘Choices.’

A nearly 50-year-old law now hangs in the balance with a decision likely coming sometime in June 2022.

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