The U.S. Supreme Court has begun hearings on a case about abortion rights in Mississippi. If the court sides with Mississippi in its decision, it will mean most abortions after the 15-week mark of pregnancy will be illegal in the state. It also means other states would be able to follow suit without being challenged by the Supreme Court.
After two hours of arguments, six of the nine Justices signalled they are willing to side with the Mississippi law.
The Mississippi law is one of the strongest challenges to the ruling of Roe v. Wade decision in nearly three decades. The Roe v. Wade ruling legalised abortion across the U.S. in 1973. As the right to an abortion is not enforced via a law passed by Congress, people have relied on this court decision for almost 50 years.
During the hearing, four of the court’s conservative justices indicated they were prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade on the basis that it was wrongly decided at the time. We won’t know the final ruling of the court until June, when a decision is set to be delivered.
Speaking on Roe v. Wade, conservative Justice Samuel Alito said, “can’t a decision be overruled because it was wrong when it was decided?” Conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, also listed multiple instances where the court has previously overruled long-standing precedents.
There are currently six conservative judges and three progressive judges on the bench.