On December 1st, the Supreme Court will first hear oral arguments in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
The case is an appeal by Mississippi to keep its ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a law enacted in 2018.
The Supreme Court announced they would hear the case this spring after considering it more than a dozen times. However, they are only considering one of three questions in the case:
“Whether all previability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”
This is because the Supreme Court has consistently ruled (in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey) that states cannot ban abortion before 24 weeks, the legal time when a fetus is considered able to survive on its own.
In response to the course, various Church entities submitted friend-of-the-court briefs to the Supreme Court.
Mississippi’s Catholic Dioceses of Jackson and Biloxi said the court should “find that the state’s interest in protecting unborn children who have the capacity to feel pain is sufficiently compelling to support a limited prohibition on abortion.”
“A sense of morality, and indeed, logic, must prevail in the courts on this issue. How is it that Mississippi law recognizes that an unborn baby can be a victim of a crime, and can have property rights, and yet the label of personhood at 15-weeks gestation is denied them?”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also submitted a brief, saying abortion is “inherently different from other types of personal decisions to which this court has accorded constitutional protection.”
The oral arguments are set to began at 10am tomorrow, and will last for 70 minutes, although it is expected they will go over the allotted time. The Supreme Court offers an audio livestream of oral hearings on their website.
The Supreme Court would likely announce their decision in early July of 2022.