In December, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the pivotal Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that challenges a law enacted by the state of Mississippi in 2018.
The Mississippi law was passed as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that underpins legal access to abortion in the U.S.
Roe established a constitutional right to abortion and prohibited states from banning the procedure. It also gave women the right to end their pregnancies before a fetus could survive on its own, around 23 weeks of gestational age. The Mississippi law seeks to ban abortions after 15 weeks.
In two hours of oral arguments, Justices in the court’s conservative majority seemed poised to let the Mississippi law stand, though the court won’t officially rule until June or July.
By the time it heard Dobbs, the Supreme Court had already punted on Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), the controversial Texas law that rewards ordinary citizens for successfully suing anyone who helps a woman get an abortion. At least 12 states are attempting to copy this law. Idaho already has.
Texas has also recently made it a crime to prescribe or mail medications that induce an abortion at home.
These legal actions and many others in state legislatures across the U.S. are rolling back 50 years of legal protections for abortions in the U.S.