The United States Supreme Court announced Monday it would hear a closely watched case against a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy in December as part of its upcoming term.
The case, Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, will be heard on Dec. 1, according to the court’s newly released calendar for its 2021-22 term.
The case has become a flashpoint in the battle on abortion rights because the state of Mississippi is specifically asking the court to overturn its landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade and 1992 Planned Parenthood vs. Casey decisions guaranteeing a constitutional right to abortion in all 50 states.
This comes less than a month after the court turned down refused to block a Texas law prohibiting abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy.
The Justice Department sued Texas this month, arguing that the law, known as Senate Bill 8, is “clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent.”
Meanwhile, the Mississippi law is being challenged by the state’s only abortion clinic, which filed suit after Gov. Phil Bryant signed the ban into law in 2018. It makes exceptions for medical emergencies and “severe fetal abnormality,” but not cases of incest or rape.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves for the Southern District of Mississippi struck down the law in late 2018, saying the state “chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional to enforce a decades-long campaign, fueled by interest groups, to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
In July, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, prompting Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch to ask the Supreme Court to review Roe vs. Wade as part of Mississippi’s fight to defend the ban.