The Supreme Court announced that on Dec. 1 it will hear arguments to consider the legality of a controversial Mississippi abortion law. The state’s Gestational Age Act bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks, except in cases of medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormality, with no exception for rape or incest.
The Hill reports this will be the first abortion law to reach the high court in direct challenge to the 1973 Roe v. Wade case which gave American women the right to obtain an abortion. Roe established that states can not ban abortions before the point a fetus can usually survive outside the womb, around 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The case also comes just months after the Supreme Court declined to block a Texas law which bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and like the law in Mississippi, offers no exceptions for rape or incest. Abortion rights groups point out that the majority of women who become pregnant don’t know they are pregnant by six weeks.
Anti-abortion activists are encouraged that the current makeup of the court with five conservative judges, that the decisision to hear the Mississippi law now might mean that Roe v. Wade could be overturned, or at least severely limited.
A dozen Republican governors were parties to a friend-of-the-court brief requesting that the justices eliminate the federal right to abortion, so that the procedure can be regulated at the state government level. According to Forbes, the governors represent states that have tried passing their own laws to limit women’s access to abortion proceedures.
On Monday (Sept. 20) 514 former and current female athletes filed their own petition to the high court pointing out the life-changing effect of pregnancy that could diminish the career of a female athlete.
Pointing out that just shy of 60% of US Olympic medals in the 2021 Tokyo Games were won by women, the letter was signed by 26 Olympians, 73 professional athletes and 276 intercollegiate athletes.