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

Headline Roundup December 2nd, 2021

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.

From the Right

The Supreme Court seemed open to the possibility of answering Mississippi’s call to scuttle Roe v. Wade, the perpetually controversial 1973 ruling that wrested the regulation of abortion from the states and made abortion lawful throughout the entire country.

Roe v. Wade is “an egregiously wrong decision,” Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart said during oral arguments on Dec. 1.

“Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey haunt our country,” Stewart said, referencing Roe’s companion ruling from 1992, which held states can’t impose significant restrictions on abortion before a fetus becomes viable for...

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From the Left

As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday about reversing a nearly 50-year precedent on abortion rights, a young woman wearing a “Bans off my body” T-shirt walked up to a white poster in a downtown Jackson hotel ballroom.

Several members and supporters of the Mississippi Abortion Access Coalition had jotted down messages on an array of pink, blue and orange sticky notes — what they would want to say to the justices.

“I remember having to go to Cuba or Sweden for abortion. Not again.”

“Protect Black Women.”

She added the latest in...

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From the Center

The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed likely to weaken abortion rights and perhaps to let states ban the procedure altogether.

The intrigue: The court seemed likely to throw out the framework established in Roe v. Wade, but it wasn't clear whether a majority of the justices were inclined to overturn the court's precedents entirely.

The big picture: The court heard oral arguments this morning in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a case challenging a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. Mississippi seemed likely to win, one way or another....

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