The U.S. Supreme Court announced May 17 that it will hear a case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, regarding a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Both pro-life and pro-abortion activists see the case as an opportunity to challenge, and potentially alter or overturn the 1973 Supreme Court Case, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the U.S.
Alaska has thrown its support behind the Mississippi law, which bans abortions after 15 weeks except for cases of severe fetal abnormalities or physical medical emergencies which put the life of the mother at risk. The law challenges Roe, which only allowed for abortion bans after a baby is considered viable outside the womb. By banning abortions after 15 weeks, the Mississippi will require the court to revisit its 1973 decision.
The Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments in the case in October.
Last summer, then Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson joined 17 other attorneys general from across the country in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi’s law, which was struck down as unconstitutional in U.S. District Court.
The amicus brief that Alaska signed onto argues that the District Court ruling treats the right to abortion “as absolute such that no state interest could ever justify any limitation of abortion pre-viability. But no other constitutional right enjoys such absolute unquestioning protection…”
It adds that the District Court decision also prevents states from offering scientific evidence that might limit abortions.
“That is the case here,” the brief states. “In the 47 years since Roe, innumerable advances in science and medicine inform our understanding of fetal development and the capacity to experience pain.”
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The attorney’s general maintain that the District Court has essentially declared that all scientific developments irrelevant with regard to abortion regulation. To let this ruling stand would “strip state legislatures of the ability to legislate effectively in light of evolving knowledge,” the brief maintains.
The brief also asks the Supreme Court to condemn the District Court’s commentary that accused the Mississippi Legislature of racism and sexism in crafting the law.
“District courts are charged with making fact findings that are relied on by appellate courts,” the brief states. “District courts cannot proceed from the assumption that abortion regulations are inherently illegitimate. Nor should they disparage the good faith of lawmakers who value unborn life.”
The Supreme Court, thanks to former President Trump’s three appointees, currently has the most conservative makeup in generations. It is expected to begin hearing arguments in the case in October.