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Pro-life citizens join a rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 30, 2014 as the court releases its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.American Life League

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — More than 200 Republican members of Congress have signed yet another amicus brief calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to return greater discretion on abortion policy to the elected branches of government in its upcoming review of Mississippi’s fifteen-week abortion ban.

The Court announced in May that it would be hearing Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which concerns Mississippi’s HB 1510 law banning abortions from being committed past 15 weeks for any reason other than physical medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormalities. After its enactment in 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals deemed it unconstitutional because of an “unbroken line dating to Roe v. Wade,” the 1973 ruling which imposed on all 50 states a “right” to pre-viability abortion.

The attorneys general of Mississippi and Missouri have asked the Court to directly overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, as have Sens. Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Mike Lee in their own brief, as well as eleven Republican governors including Ron DeSantis of Florida.

The Hill reports that the latest brief, filed Thursday, is signed by 44 Republican senators and 184 House members, though it does not go as far as the aforementioned arguments.

“Mississippi’s case provides the Court a chance to release its vise grip on abortion politics, as Congress and the States have shown that they are ready and able to address the issue in ways that reflect Americans’ varying viewpoints and are grounded in the science of fetal development and maternal health,” the lawmakers argue. 

“Courts and legal scholars have repeatedly described Casey’s viability line as “arbitrary” and ‘artificial,’” they continue. “Three decades after Casey, this Court has failed to disambiguate key terms employed in Roe such as ‘viability’ and ‘prohibition,’ and has failed to provide meaningful guidance on the impact of the viability line on lower courts’ consideration of recognized state interests.”

Notably, however, the brief expressly identifies as acceptable outcomes rulings that allow greater restrictions on pre-viability abortions but fall short of fully returning abortion to the democratic process. 

“The Members of Congress urge the Court to … uphold Mississippi’s law, or return the case to the lower courts for consideration on a full evidentiary record of the crucial interests the State relied upon in determining to regulate the availability of late-term abortion,” the brief declares. It goes on to say that if the Court “construes Roe and Casey as prohibiting the assertion of vital state interests” such as banning late-term abortions, banning certain abortion techniques, or banning abortions motivated by fetal anomalies, then “these precedents should be reconsidered and, where necessary, wholly or partially overruled.”

The milder appeal may explain why Cruz, Hawley, and Lee, who did not sign this latest brief, chose to file their own instead.

Various other pro-life scholars and activists have filed amicus briefs making the case for fully overturning Roe and Casey, as well:

It remains to be seen whether the court’s Republican-appointed majority will go as far as pro-lifers hope. Only Justice Clarence Thomas is explicitly on the record as anti-Roe, and only he and Justice Samuel Alito have established consistently conservative records over a significant period of time. Many have placed a great deal of hope with former President Donald Trump’s most recent appointees, though conservatives have also been alarmed by Justice Neil Gorsuch voting to redefine “sex” in federal civil rights law last year, and Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett voting not to take up several cases of concern to religious, conservative, and/or pro-life Americans.