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Supreme Court to Consider Curb on Abortion Rights

Ruling could give states more leeway to restrict procedures
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2021 9:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider a major rollback of abortion rights, saying it will decide whether states can ban abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb, per the AP. The court’s order sets up a showdown over abortion, probably in the fall, with a more conservative court seemingly ready to dramatically alter nearly 50 years of rulings on abortion rights. The court first announced a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and reaffirmed it 19 years later. The new case involves a Mississippi law that would prohibit abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. The state’s ban had been blocked by lower courts as inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent that protects a woman’s right to obtain an abortion before the fetus can survive outside her womb.

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The justices had put off action on the case for several months. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an abortion-rights proponent, died just before the court’s new term began in October. Her replacement, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, is the most open opponent of abortion rights to join the court in decades. Barrett is one of three appointees of former President Trump on the Supreme Court. The other two, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, voted in dissent last year to allow Louisiana to enforce restrictions on doctors that could have closed two of the state’s three abortion clinics. The Mississippi law was enacted in 2018, but was blocked after a federal court challenge. The state’s only abortion clinic remains open. The owner has said the clinic does abortions up to 16 weeks.

(Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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