The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a key abortion case that seeks to challenge the landmark 1973 ruling Roe vs. Wade, which made the practice legal in the United States.
At the center of the legal challenge is a Mississippi law that bars abortions after 15 weeks. The high court will decide whether to uphold the law and overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Some experts say the Mississippi law is the most significant challenge to Roe vs. Wade in recent memory. And because the court has a 6-3 conservative majority, some think the landmark law may be in serious jeopardy.
The court includes three appointees of former President Donald Trump — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
The arguments in the case, Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, are expected to start at 10 a.m. EST and audio of the arguments will be streamed live.
A decision by the Supreme Court in 1992 began to erode Roe vs. Wade by allowing states to regulate abortion rights as long as they didn’t impose an undue burden on women before fetal viability at 23 to 24 weeks. Since then, states have pushed the “undue burden” line.
“The very essence of a constitutional right is that it is not up to the legislatures,” Julie Rikelman, senior director of litigation at the Center for Reproductive Rights, told NPR. “It’s a right that we all have [that] the legislators cannot take away from us.”
In a speech on Tuesday to advocacy groups Advancing American Freedom and the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, former Vice President Mike Pence said he believes the arguments should send Roe vs. Wade to “the ash heap of history.”
“Now more than ever, we need our conservative majority on the Supreme Court of the United States to return the question of life to the states and the people,” Pence said, according to CNN. “While I cannot say how the Supreme Court will rule, today I can say with confidence the tide has turned for the pro-life movement.”
While the high court has taken on the Mississippi case, it has not yet ruled on the more stringent abortion law in Texas, which bars the practice as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as soon as six weeks and before a woman even knows she is pregnant. The law allows private citizens to file lawsuits in an effort to get around legal challenges.
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