The Supreme Court begins its term today, with a docket that includes a high-profile case on abortion rights.
On December 1st, the Court is scheduled to hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizations, a challenge to a restrictive 2018 Mississippi abortion bill that limits the procedure after 15 weeks. The law has been struck down in the lower courts for violating the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that gave women the right to choose before fetal viability, which normally occurs around 23 weeks.
The Court last heard an abortion case in March of 2020, when it voted 5-4 to strike down a restrictive Louisiana law. However, following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and the confirmation of Trump appointee Amy Coney Barrett to the Court, conservative justices now hold a 6-3 majority. Should the Court rule in favor of the Mississippi law, it would open the door for states to impose further restrictions on, or even ban, abortion.
“Change is about to come with regard to abortion,” University of Texas at Austin law professor Elizabeth W. Sepper told the New York Times. “I think they’re going to overrule Roe v. Wade.”
Thousands of demonstrators gathered across the country this weekend to protest restrictions on abortion rights. Reuters reports that 660 gatherings took place across the country, including in front of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. and in Austin, Texas. The demonstrations were sparked by a Texas abortion bill which took effect in September. The bill, considered one of the most restrictive in the country, is being challenged in the court system.
Although the Court will hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in December, the Times reports that a decision will likely be announced in June.