18 state AGs call on Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban
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July 29, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The top cops of 18 states have banded together to call on the U.S. Supreme Court to hear and uphold the constitutionality of Mississippi’s ban on aborting babies at 15 weeks, calling Roe v. Wade outdated in light of modern medical knowledge.
In March 2019, Mississippi Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed HB 1510, which prohibits abortions from being committed past 15 weeks for any reason other than physical medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormalities. The pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of Women’s Health Organization in Jackson within an hour of the signing.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves quickly issued a temporary restraining order against enforcing the law, then declared it unconstitutional in a ruling filled with pro-abortion talking points rather than legal arguments. Nevertheless, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Reeves, prompting the governor to declare his willingness to take the issue to the nation’s highest court.
Now, a coalition of 18 attorneys general from across the country, led by Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on Mississippi’s behalf.
“The Fifth Circuit’s test treats the right to previability abortion as absolute such that no state interest could ever justify any limitation of abortion previability,” the brief argues. “But no other constitutional right enjoys such absolute unquestioning protection, which perhaps is why Roe and Casey do not elevate the abortion right above all others.”
“In the 47 years since Roe, innumerable advances in science and medicine inform our understanding of fetal development and the capacity to experience pain,” it continues. “Yet the district court declared all scientific developments irrelevant and the viability line absolute. Not only is that wrong under this Court’s precedents, but it would strip state legislatures of the ability to legislate effectively in light of evolving knowledge.”
The Fifth Circuit had claimed that an “an unbroken line dating to Roe v. Wade” had firmly entrenched the “right” to pre-viability abortion, but that “unbroken line” is precisely what Mississippi and other pro-life states intend to challenge. Attorneys with the Life Legal Defense Foundation noted that the Court has also acknowledged a “compelling interest in protecting the unborn child” as pregnancy progresses, particularly on criteria like fetal pain – which can be felt before viability, as the latest pro-life brief also points out.
Pro-lifers are unlikely to prevail, however, until at least one liberal justice (and possibly more) is replaced with a conservative. Last month, Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote to strike down a Louisiana law that didn’t ban any abortions, but merely required abortionists to make arrangements for admitting women to nearby hospitals in cases of emergencies,
That ruling was only the latest in a long history of Republican judicial nominees delivering outcomes at odds with the conservative promises of the presidents who nominated them. Over the weekend, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) announced that he will only vote for future Supreme Court picks who have opposed Roe on the record before their confirmation hearings.