How SCOTUS’ Mississippi Abortion Ban Trial Could Determine The Future of Reproductive Rights

The Dobbs v. Jackson hearing would overturn 50 years of legal precedent set by Roe Vs. Wade with a favorable ruling.

Hundreds of people march around Trafalgar Square during the anti-abortion march on October 02, 202, in London, United Kingdom. Credit: Getty Images
Hundreds of people march around Trafalgar Square during the anti-abortion march on October 02, 202, in London, United Kingdom. Credit: Getty Images

The U.S Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case, a Mississippi law which bans the termination of a pregnancy after 15 weeks, fundamentally overturns Roe v. Wade, and imposes new restrictive abortion measures.

The hearing is currently the largest threat to the historic Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nearly 50 years ago.

The court’s arguments will center on the 15-week ban, but will also explore the constitutionality of whether states can prohibit abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb.

Dobbs v. Jackson is a landmark hearing that effectively requests that Supreme Court overturn the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling, which ruled that states can’t place “undue burden” on access or ban any abortions done before 24 weeks. Lawmakers in Mississippi have been trying for years to undue Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

In some instances, Mississippi lawmakers have had success at hindering the abortion process. For example the current rules in place at one of the last standing abortion clinics in Mississippi-Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Doctors and nurses at the clinic are required by the state of Mississippi to tell patients that “having an abortion will increase their risk of breast cancer”, despite that being factually true and widely disputed by The American College of OB-GYN and The American Cancer Society. The clinic agreed to implement the legislative measures, however they have made it difficult for providers to operate.

If the judge rules in favor of the law, it could mean that abortion access will be limited to Southern and Midwestern states. This may force women to travel to other states to receive care.

According to a study published by the American Journal of Public Health, women with a low economic status had higher abortion rates than women with larger incomes. The result of the ruling may also put a stop all-together on women from low-income households receiving abortions due to financial restrictions and limited travel options.

For many women, this could mean that they will be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to full term or potentially run the risk of seeking unsafe alternatives to terminate their pregnancies.

The fate of hearing will come from a mostly conservative court, making it the first abortion case to be reviewed by a 6-3 conservative majority since the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in 2020.

The ruling could be critical in shaping future anti-abortion measures in other states. In addition to Texas, states like Florida and Ohio have introduced restrictive abortion laws.