Headline RoundupDecember 2nd, 2021

Supreme Court Appears Open to Scaling Back Abortion Rights, Overturning Roe v Wade

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The Supreme Court's conservative majority showed openness to rolling back abortion rights during arguments Wednesday.

The court heard arguments in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, centered around a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Mississippi wants the Supreme Court to reverse all prior abortion decisions and return the abortion question to individual states. Previous Supreme Court decisions have maintained the framework of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision that prevents states from restricting abortion until a fetus is considered viable, which occurs roughly 24-28 weeks into a pregnancy. The court's six conservative justices questioned prior precedent and whether the viability line made sense at 15 weeks, 24 weeks, or somewhere else. Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested that the Supreme Court remain neutral on abortion and leave the decision to individual states. Though the majority seemed skeptical of the Mississippi law, it's unclear whether they'd vote to overturn Roe entirely.  A final decision isn't expected until June 2022.

Outlets across the spectrum covered the arguments prominently. Coverage from right-rated sources often highlighted the case and arguments in favor of abortion restrictions. Coverage from left-rated sources typically focused on reasons for abortion rights and speculated about the consequences of scaling back those rights.

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