Arguments are scheduled to begin on Wednesday over the hot topic of whether Mississippi can ban abortions post 15 weeks of pregnancy. The issue has garnered much attention after the highly debated Texas law regarding abortion in 6weeks, was allowed to be in operation for a few more months by the judges.
The judges will have a hard task at hand since certain precedents have been establishing key jurisprudence on the aspect and the rights of women in the U.S… Cases such as Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, had established and have time and again reiterated the woman’s right to an abortion.
Chief Justice John Roberts had voted for the continuance of restrictions in 2 other abortion-related cases, as a part of the majority in 2007. He further agreed to call upon a ban on “partial-birth abortion” In 2016 he contributed to a dissenting opinion on the Whole Woman’s Health case where Texas’s restrictions on abortion clinics were struck down.
In 2020 when a similar case of the Lousiana law was brought forward, he changed his stance and said that he believes that the 2016 case was “wrongly decided” but that the question was “whether to adhere to it in deciding the present case” and thereby rectifying it.
Speaking about overturning precedent the chief justice called it “a jolt to the legal system,” which depends equally on stability and evenhandedness. Just because one feels that the case was not decided properly is not enough.
Overturning a case’s careful perusal “at these other factors, like settled expectations, like the legitimacy of the Court, like whether a particular precedent is workable or not, whether a precedent has been eroded by subsequent developments,” Roberts said then.
Justice Clarence Thomas in the past had voted to de-establish the precedent of Roe in 1992, as a dissenter in the case. He has often spoken his mind and belief to overturn Roe and Casey.
An extract from the dissent he wrote in the Roe case stated, “In 1973, this Court struck down an Act of the Texas Legislature that had been in effect since 1857, thereby rendering unconstitutional abortion statutes in dozens of States. As some of my colleagues on the Court, past, and present, ably demonstrated, that decision was grievously wrong. Abortion is a unique act, in which a woman’s exercise of control over her own body ends, depending on one’s view, human life, or potential human life.
Nothing in our Federal Constitution deprives the people of this country of the right to determine whether the consequences of abortion to the fetus and to society outweigh the burden of an unwanted pregnancy on the mother. Although a State may permit abortion, nothing in the Constitution dictates that a State must do so.”
Justice Stephen Breyer who acknowledges the dilemma of the case, states in the two-decade-old Nebraska case, that even though a huge section of the population believes “that an abortion is akin to causing the death of an innocent child,” whereas the other section of the society believes of a greater threat, “fear that a law that forbids abortion would condemn many American women to lives that lack dignity,”
However, Breyer’s final conclusions were tilted towards women’s right to choose, where he said, “This Court, in the course of a generation, has determined and then re-determined that the Constitution offers basic protection to the woman’s right to choose.”