Justices will hear arguments this fall over Mississippi's ban on most abortions after 15 weeks. Jackson Women's Health, the state's only abortion clinic, offers abortions up to 16 weeks of pregnancy, although the clinic director has stated about 10% of abortions there are done after the 15th week.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press points to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as showing "more than 90% of abortions in the U.S. take place in the first 13 weeks."
"I'm very pleased that the Supreme Court is taking up this case from Mississippi," comments Carol Tobias of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). "It's been a long time since they have looked at whether or not the states have the right to protect unborn children, so I think this is long overdue, and I'm glad they're looking at it."
Attorney General Lynn Fitch (R-Mississippi) filed her brief with the Supreme Court last week, defending what she calls "the right of the people to pass laws that protect life and women's health and address legitimate interests of the state."
"There are those who would like to believe that Roe v. Wade settled the issue of abortion once and for all," said Fitch. "But all it did was establish a special-rules regime for abortion jurisprudence that has left these cases out of step with other court decisions and neutral principles of law applied by the court."
As a result, the state's attorney general said state legislatures, and the people they represent, have lacked clarity in passing laws to protect legitimate public interests, and artificial guideposts have stunted important public debate on how society cares for the dignity of women and their children.
"It is time for the court to set this right and return this political debate to the political branches of government," she submits.
"They are asking the court to overturn Roe v. Wade, but if they're not going to go that far, then they need to at least allow states to start placing more protections in law for unborn children," continues Tobias.
But Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is defending Mississippi's only abortion clinic, is not having it.
"Today's brief reveals the extreme and regressive strategy, not just of this law, but of the avalanche of abortion bans and restrictions that are being passed across the country," Northup said in a statement posted by Associated Press. "Their goal is for the Supreme Court to take away our right to control our own bodies and our own futures — not just in Mississippi, but everywhere."
"Northup absolutely believes that abortion should be allowed for all nine months of pregnancy for any reason, and she is going to be upset with anything that the court does other than the complete denial of state laws to protect those babies," asserts Carol Tobias. "I hope that she is very, very disappointed in the outcome of this decision."