Minneapolis (WCCO) A massive decision for women’s rights is back in the fore for nearly 50 years.
Wednesday, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The outcome may affect the groundbreaking Roe v. Wade case.
WCCO spoke with David Schultz, professor of constitutional law at Hamlin University, about the potential size of this hearing.
“It’s an incredibly big issue in terms of hearing your voice,” Schultz said. “What will happen in the oral arguments is that the court will request not only that the Mississippi law is constitutional, but may use that as an opportunity to reconsider Roe v. Wade.”
In 1973, the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade made it bar states from restricting abortions before fetal survival, which is defined as when a fetus can survive outside the womb.
Jill Hasday, a law professor at the University of Minnesota School of Law, says the current fetal life span is around 23 weeks.
“So Mississippi, in other words, bans pre-survival abortions,” Hasday said.
The ruling in favor of Mississippi law opens the door to overturning Roe v. Wade, especially given the composition of the Supreme Court.
“It appears that there are five to six justices on the Supreme Court who, in differing opinions or statements, have expressed their disagreement with Roe v. Wade,” Schultz said.
Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Connie Barrett were conservatives appointed to the Supreme Court during President Donald Trump’s tenure. Their decision could have a huge impact across the country.
“A variety of states, about a dozen states, have what are called arousal laws. These laws state that if one day the Supreme Court is to rule on Roe and [1992’s Planned Parenthood vs. Casey decision]”They’re outlawing abortions outright in the state,” Hasday said.
She estimates that as many as 25 states will restrict abortions if the ruling is overturned. Featured on the Reproductive Rights Center’s website.
What happens to Minnesota’s abortion laws if Roe v. Wade is overturned?
“At this point, nothing will happen to Minnesota’s abortion laws,” Schultz said.
This is because of a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights in the 1990s that supersedes any SCOTUS decision. However, state lawmakers have drafted bills restricting abortion in Minnesota, but they are usually voted down no before they reach the governor’s office.
“If there were no constitutional limits on the state’s ability to regulate abortion, the legislature would have full power,” Hasday said. “They can do whatever they want.”
No judgment will be passed on the Mississippi law any time soon. It could take several months and is likely to happen next June. Regardless of the decision, Schultz predicts that abortion rights will be inflated in the next election cycle due to SCOTUS simply hearing arguments about the Mississippi law.