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Roe v. Wade in the balance? Supreme Court sets date for arguments on Mississippi abortion law

Justices will hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health on Dec. 1. The case centers around a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. 

Updated: September 20, 2021 - 7:49pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it has set a date to hear arguments in a potential landmark abortion case from Mississippi which the state hopes will result in the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Justices will hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health on Dec. 1. This case centers around a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. The state passed the law in 2018, but a panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked it from being implemented. 

While the law would only impact a small group of women between 15-24 weeks pregnant, the state's only abortion provider, Jackson Women’s Health, argues that under Supreme Court precedents set by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a woman is guaranteed the right to an abortion up until fetal viability, roughly around 24 weeks. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 90% of abortions happen within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. 

The announcement of the court's argument calendar comes only a few weeks after the court let stand a Texas law which essentially bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, or once fetal cardiac activity is detected. 

Despite the high court's very technical explanation as to why it allowed the law to take effect, abortion rights advocates are taking its decision as an ominous sign in regards to the pending Mississippi case. 

This will be one of the first cases the justices will hear in person since the start of the pandemic. However, members of the public will not be permitted to attend, only lawyers arguing before the court will be present.

The court is expected to provide a live audio feed for the public to listen to.