Mississippi’s attorney general informed the Supreme Court that he believes Roe v. Wade was “egregiously wrong” and urged justices to allow a controversial law in her state to take effect banning most abortions after 15 weeks.
“The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition” Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch wrote in a brief filed Thursday.
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“There are those who would like to believe that Roe v. Wade settled the issue of abortion once and for all,” Fitch said in a statement posted on her official website. “But all it did was establish a special-rules regime for abortion jurisprudence that has left these cases out of step with other Court decisions and neutral principles of law applied by the Court. As a result, state legislatures, and the people they represent, have lacked clarity in passing laws to protect legitimate public interests, and artificial guideposts have stunted important public debate on how we, as a society, care for the dignity of women and their children. It is time for the Court to set this right and return this political debate to the political branches of government.”
Fitch argued that the case to overrule the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion nationwide is “overwhelming.”
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Pro-abortion groups were quick to issue negative reactions to the potential relitigation of Roe v. Wade, including the Center for Reproductive rights, which called the brief “extreme” and “regressive.”
“Mississippi has stunningly asked the Supreme Court to overturn Roe and every other abortion rights decision in the last five decades,” the group’s president and CEO Nancy Northup said in a statement. “Today’s brief reveals the extreme and regressive strategy, not just of this law, but of the avalanche of abortion bans and restrictions that are being passed across the country.”
Pro-life groups have also weighed in with positive reactions to the news.
“Just read AG Fitch’s brief in the Dobbs late term abortion case,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser tweeted. “It makes it clear SCOTUS’ abortion jurisprudence is hopelessly unworkable and ungrounded in history or facts. It is long overdue for the Supreme Court to let the abortion debate move forward democratically.”
Democrats have long feared that the conservative tilt of the Supreme Court, currently sitting at 6-3, is fraught with the potential of Roe v. Wade being struck down.
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Justices are likely to hear the case this fall and would then probably rule on the matter next spring. The attorney expected to make Mississippi’s oral arguments before the court is the state’s solicitor general, Scott G. Stewart, who once clerked for conservative Justice Clarence Thomas.
Mississippi enacted the controversial abortion bill banning abortions after 15 weeks in 2018, but it has been tied up in court battles ever since, and the state’s only abortion clinic has continued operating without the restriction as court battles linger on.