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    Alaska on board as U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear case challenging Roe v. Wade

    By AlaskaWatchman.com

    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.”

    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.

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    Joel Davidson
    Joel Davidson
    Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.

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    5 Comments

    1. The USSC could completely vacate Roe and Casey, which they won’t, and it would make no difference in abortion law in Alaska. Federal law on abortion is predicated on on a right to privacy which Justice Douglas contrived in Griswold v. Connecticut. Many people both pro and anti-abortion quarrel with Douglas’ reasoning in Griswold and its progeny. The most pro-life advocates can reasonably expect is some loosening of the almost absolute right to at least first trimester abortion by making some room for a showing of a compelling state interest.
      Alaska on the other hand does not rely on “penumbras and emanations” of other rights to establish a Constitutional privacy right; we have an express right to privacy articulated in our State Constitution. In terms of argument, there is plenty of room to pierce the State Constitution’s express right to privacy with a showing of a compelling State interest and a precisely and narrowly tailored remedy to satisfy that interest. That said, the real impediment to doing much about abortion rights in Alaska is doing something about how AKSC justices are selected. And, no, that isn’t an argument for electing them, but the Governor’s choice shouldn’t be dictated by the Bar.

    2. This is good news. However, until we reign in the AK Supreme Court, we will be prevented from protecting pre-borns in our state. That has been shown time and time again. Senator Hughes bill (SJR4) is the language we need to do so. “To protect human life, nothing in this constitution may be construed to secure or protect a right to an abortion or require the State to fund an abortion.” It’s worked in multiple states.
      A Constitutional Convention is the only way to get there.

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