The U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing a case involving a restrictive Mississippi abortion law on December 1. It is crystal clear SCOTUS will use that case to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion prior to fetal “viability,” which generally happens around the 24th week of pregnancy.
The Supremes’ Conservative majority telegraphed its intent three weeks ago when it declined to intervene in a newly-enacted Texas law that effectively bans all abortions after the sixth week, before most women are aware they are pregnant. The Texas law disingenuously dodges Roe—which is still the law of the land—by turning enforcement over to private citizens who are now free to sue for up to $10,000 anyone they claim has aided a woman in attempting to secure an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, the point at which a fetal heartbeat can usually be detected.
The Texas law tries to head-fake Roe. The Mississippi case takes it on directly, banning abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest, with state enforcement. After this 2018 Mississippi law was suspended by two lower court rulings, the state appealed to SCOTUS, which agreed to hear the case. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch (R), maintains Roe has no Constitutional foundation and was decided almost a half century ago on false and even non-existent legal premises. The appeal by Mississippi is the most direct and substantive challenge to Roe since 1992, when the right to abortion was upheld in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
One requires neither a crystal ball nor tarot cards to predict the outcome of this case. Roe, law of the land for 48 years, will be struck down.
And this country’s Culture War will escalate to unprecedented levels of passion, tribalism and danger.
December 1. Just in time for Christmas.