Mississippi AG petitions Supreme Court to reconsider abortion ban
October 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch has once again petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review that state’s ban on aborting babies after 15 weeks’ gestation.
In March 2018, the Mississippi State House passed the House Bill 1510, the Gestational Age Act. That law was temporarily blocked from enforcement by a federal judge within 24 hours of its passage, and then permanently blocked in November of that year. The state governor at the time, Phil Bryant, pledged to fight the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.
The case was appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, but the lower court’s decision was upheld in a ruling given in December 2019.
On June 15 of this year, Fitch filed a petition with the Supreme Court to review the Gestational Age Act, asking for clarification on the Court’s “jurisprudence on abortion to allow states like ours to enact laws that further their legitimate interests in protecting maternal health, safeguarding unborn babies, and promoting respect for innocent and vulnerable life.”
Statement on my petition to the Supreme Court of the United States supporting Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act pic.twitter.com/5MFX6xiLR5— Lynn Fitch (@LynnFitchAG) June 16, 2020
The original petition asks “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional,” and whether these kinds of laws “should be analyzed under Casey’s ‘undue burden’ standard or Hellerstedt’s balancing of benefits and burdens.” The supplemental brief filed with the Supreme Court this month offers additional reasons to consider the second of these, highlighting the “burgeoning split of authority on that question.”
The two court cases mentioned in the petition, Casey v. Planned Parenthood and Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, applied different tests to determine the validity of pre-viability abortion laws. While the Casey decision emphasized “undue burdens” placed on women seeking abortions by such laws, the Hellerstedt decision applied the weighing of benefits against the burdens of the proposed law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
Chief Justice John Roberts, in his concurrence with the liberal justices in this spring’s June Medical Services v. Russo, maintained that the “cost-benefit” analysis of Hellerstedt has “no place in constitutional law.” Since then, there has been a split among lower circuit courts in applying these tests to laws restricting abortion, which Fitch highlighted in both her September 2 reply brief, and October’s supplemental brief.
More importantly, the petition asks the Court to address the “contradictions” in its use of viability “as a bright line for measuring abortion legislation” since Roe v. Wade. “The viability line that Roe articulated was always, as Justice O’Connor recognized, on a collision course with itself for it failed to give full credence to the fact ‘that the State’s interest in protecting potential human life exists throughout the pregnancy,’” it says. Consequently, if the Supreme Court decides to hear the petition, it will have the opportunity “to consider and decide whether Roe’s viability dicta should be validated or repudiated.”
The Supreme Court was originally scheduled to consider the appeal in September but has already rescheduled it twice. Four justices need to agree to hear the case before it will go to the country’s highest court.
With the confirmation and subsequent swearing in of Justice Amy Coney Barrett last night, the abortion lobby and the American left are appearing increasingly panicked that Roe v. Wade will be overturned.