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In Abortion Fight, the Date Dec. 1 Just Became Huge

Supreme Court will hear direct challenge to Roe v. Wade out of Mississippi
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2021 12:11 PM CDT
Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Roe in December
This Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, photo shows the Supreme Court in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Those on both sides of the abortion debate now have a crucial date to circle on the calendar: December 1. The Supreme Court on Monday said it would hear arguments on that day in a Mississippi case that represents a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, reports Bloomberg. The case revolves around the Mississippi Gestational Age Act of 2018, which prohibits abortions after 15 weeks with few exceptions, reports CNN. The law allows the procedure only for "medical emergencies or for severe fetal abnormality." No exceptions are granted for rape or incest by the law, which federal courts have blocked from taking effect.

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"The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition," Mississippi Attorney Lynn Fitch argued in a July brief. Fitch called the Roe decision "egregiously wrong" and said it should be overturned. The case comes as more states (including Texas) have passed restrictive laws, emboldened by the court's new conservative majority. Abortion providers have warned that if the Mississippi law stands, some states might eliminate abortions entirely, per CBS News.

The view in opposition to Mississippi's was expressed by judges on the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in December 2019. "In an unbroken line dating to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's abortion cases have established (and affirmed and re-affirmed) a woman's right to choose an abortion before viability," the judges wrote, per CNN. "States may regulate abortion procedures prior to viability so long as they do not ban abortions," they wrote. "The law at issue is a ban." (Read more abortion rights stories.)

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