The Supreme Court Conservatives sounded poised on Wednesday to severely curtail a woman’s right to choose an abortion, potentially overturning Roe vs. Wade entirely.
A Mississippi attorney initially argued that the court’s abortion decisions “ravaged our country” and “poisoned the law,” and most of the six Conservative judges appeared to agree during the nearly two-hour discussion.
“The Constitution is neither for life nor for abortion,” said Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, summarizing the case for the overthrow of Roe vs. Wade. He said the court is “not allowed to choose sides in the most controversial social debate in American life”.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett said pregnant women who do not wish to raise a young child can put the baby up for adoption. If so, she said, the lack of access to abortion shouldn’t have a huge impact on her life and career.
The court has six Conservative judges who are skeptical of abortion law, but only Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. focused on the narrow issue of maintaining the 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi.
It’s possible Kavanaugh and Barrett could join him to narrowly rule for Mississippi, but they sounded like they were ready to go further and completely override abortion rights.
The three liberal judges said the court would make a huge mistake in overturning its previous judgments.
Kavanaugh said some of the court’s largest rulings had overturned previous precedents, including the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that overturned earlier segregation judgments.
The Mississippi case poses the greatest threat to the right to abortion since 1973 because of the amended court order. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. are staunch enemies of abortion law, and they are joined by the three judges appointed by President Trump: Judges Neil M. Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett.
If the five vote as a bloc, they could decide that the constitution says nothing about abortion and considers the decision in Roe to be a mistake.
A challenge to abortion law against a Texas law that makes it illegal for doctors or clinics to terminate a pregnancy after six weeks is still pending in court. The state itself does not enforce the measure known as Senate Law 8. Instead, he authorized private lawsuits against those who violated it. That threat has halted most abortions in Texas.
In early September, the court refused, by 5 to 4 votes, to block the Texas ban on abortion, citing the complexity of the procedure. The judges then heard arguments on Nov. 1 to determine whether federal judges could prevent Texas courts from enforcing SB 8. The delay in the decision, now extended by three months, has kept the Texas ban in place.
On Wednesday, the Biden government’s attorney general Elizabeth Prelogar, along with Julie Rikelman, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, urged the court to stand by its precedents and leave the abortion decision in the hands of pregnant women, not the government .
They said that the Roe vs. Wade court promised that women would be allowed to work by around the age of 24.
They pointed out that the 1992 court reconsidered the Roe decision but ultimately upheld the right to abortion with a 5-4 vote in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey. Reagan Appointed Judge Anthony M. Kennedy cast an important vote to uphold abortion rights. Now that Kennedy was retired, two of his former employees – Kavanaugh and Gorsuch – could vote to overturn that decision.
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