GRANMA: US Supreme Court debates the right to abortion

Walter Lippmann

Pro-abortion activists near the Supreme Court building, Washington, U.S., Dec. 1, 2021 Photo: Reuters

After almost 50 years of being pronounced as a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy nationwide, the U.S. Supreme Court was immersed this Wednesday in a debate where this right is at stake, reports the multistate Telesur.

The magistrates analyzed whether to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks and would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the publication notes.

According to Russia Today (RT), the case raises concerns among feminist organizations because, if the court rules in favor of the ban, this precedent could lead to criminalizing abortion in other states.

In 2018, the then-Republican governor of the state of Mississippi, Phil Bryant, restricted abortion rights by setting a 15-week gestational limit. However, that state law conflicted with the constitutional right that guarantees the power to terminate a pregnancy until such time as there is viability for the fetus, around 24 weeks.

In November 2018, a federal judge struck down that Mississippi law, a decision that was upheld by another court after an appeal. However, in May of this year, he agreed to consider the case by the Supreme Court, an institution that currently has a majority of six conservative justices to three progressive ones.

The Supreme Court was transformed by the appointments of former President Donald Trump, who had promised to appoint judges who, he said, would oppose abortion, reports Telesur.

The court had not previously agreed to hear a case on the abortion ban so early in pregnancy until Trump's appointees, Judges Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, joined the jury.

The Mississippi state petitioners, Thomas Dobbs and Kenneth Cleveland, argue that the 15-week abortion ban should stand because the U.S. Constitution does not support abortion rights.

Lower courts have blocked the law, arguing that it violates rights enshrined by Supreme Court decisions in previous cases. With these rulings, the state cannot ban abortion before the point of fetal viability, around 24 weeks gestation.

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