Mississippi’s Republican attorney general is asking the Supreme Court to strike down Roe v. Wade, the court’s landmark decision from a half-century ago that guaranteed a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.
In a brief filed Thursday, Lynn Fitch asked the court to wipe away women’s constitutional right to an abortion so that her state could enact a law that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. She also petitioned the court to invalidate its subsequent 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which said states may not impose an “undue burden” on the right to abortion before fetal viability – the point at which fetuses can sustain life outside the womb, or about 23 or 24 weeks.
Lower courts already have blocked Mississippi’s statute, calling it a cynical and calculated assault on abortion rights. The Supreme Court in May agreed to hear the case, just months after Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who has said she personally opposes abortion, joined the court. The 6-3 majority conservative court is likely to hear arguments in November or December. A decision next year would come amid midterm congressional elections.
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said Mississippi was employing an “extreme and regressive strategy” with a goal of outlawing abortion not just in the state, but also across the country.
“If Roe falls, half the states in the country are poised to ban abortion entirely,” Northup said in a statement. “Women of child-bearing age in the U.S. have never known a world in which they don’t have this basic right, and we will keep fighting to make sure they never will.”