Sept. 21, 2021 -- The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a major Mississippi abortion case on Dec. 1, which could challenge the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion.

On Monday, the court issued its calendar for arguments that will be heard in late November and early December, The Associated Press reported.

The Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is seeking to overturn Roe v. Wade by asking the Supreme Court to uphold a ban on most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. The state also said the court should overrule the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that prevents states from banning abortion before viability, which is around 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court allowed a Texas law to take effect that bans abortions after cardiac activity can be detected, which is around 6  weeks of pregnancy and often before many women know they’re pregnant. The court, which was split 5-4, didn’t rule on the constitutional nature of the law, instead declining to block its enforcement.

Hundreds of legal briefs have been filed on both sides of the case, the AP reported. On Monday, more than 500 women athletes, including members of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association, and Olympic medalists, filed a brief that said an abortion ban would be devastating for female athletes.

The Mississippi law was enacted in 2018 but was blocked after a challenge at the federal court level. The state’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, remains open and offers abortions up to 16 weeks of pregnancy, the AP reported. About 100 abortions a year are completed after 15 weeks, the organization said.

More than 90% of abortions in the U.S. occur in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, the AP said.

The Supreme Court justices will return to the courtroom in October to hear arguments now that all of them have been vaccinated, the AP reported. The justices had been hearing cases by phone during the pandemic.

The public won’t be able to attend sessions, but the court will allow live audio of the session. 

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

The Associated Press: “Supreme Court sets arguments in big abortion case.”

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