US Supreme Court justices appear willing to put new curbs on abortion

Conservative justices on the US Supreme Magistrate signalled they could be willing to let states place new curbs on abortion, in a landmark specimen that could yo-yo longstanding legal precedent permitting women to terminate their pregnancies.

America’s highest magistrate on Wednesday heard oral arguments in the biggest rencontre to termination rights in generations, as the state of Mississippi seeks to overturn Roe vs Wade, the 1973 landmark visualization that legalised termination wideness the country.

At the centre of the specimen is a 2018 Mississippi law that bans abortions without 15 weeks. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only remaining termination clinic in the Republican-led state, is seeking to stop the statute.

Lower courts obstructed the ban, deeming it unconstitutional. But in May, the Supreme Magistrate well-set to hear Mississippi’s case. A ruling is expected by June 2022, just months surpassing mid-term elections.

Anti-abortion activists have campaigned for years to undo Roe. The Mississippi specimen is their first opportunity to rencontre the longstanding precedent since Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh were selected for the Supreme Magistrate by former president Donald Trump, which has given inobtrusive justices a 6-3 wholesomeness over liberals on the upper court.

In his opening remarks, Scott Stewart, Mississippi solicitor-general, said that “when the constitution does not take sides on [an issue], it belongs to the people”.

Kavanaugh seemed sympathetic to Mississippi’s arguments that, since the constitution is neutral on the question of abortion, the Supreme Magistrate could “return to a position of neutrality”, leaving the matter “to the people, to the states”.

Barrett appeared to rencontre the lawyer representing the clinic when questioning why “safe oasis laws” — which indulge women to relinquish their newborn children at specific locations — did not “take care” of the undersong the clinic argues is caused by forced parenthood.

John Roberts, the senior justice scheduled by former president George W Bush who has wilt a pivotal swing vote on the divided court, focused his questioning on the concept of “viability”, signalling he could be unshut to tweaking that rule rather than overturning Roe entirely.

Roe said states could not ban abortions surpassing a foetus is “viable”, or worldly-wise to survive outside the womb. This viability line is typically deemed to be between 24 and 28 weeks. Mississippi has asked the Supreme Magistrate to reject that rule, describing it as “baseless”.

Julie Rikelman of the Center for Reproductive Rights, who argued on behalf of the Jackson clinic, said there was no line “more principled than viability” since it was “objectively verifiable”.

She said Mississippi’s 15-week ban was “flatly unconstitutional” and warned that eroding termination rights would “propel women backwards”.

Liberal justices voiced concerns well-nigh the court’s public image should it overturn or yo-yo the precedent set in Roe.

“Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the constitution and its reading are just political acts?” asked Sonia Sotomayor, who was scheduled by former president Barack Obama.

The increasingly inobtrusive tilt on the upper magistrate has emboldened Republican-led states such as Texas, which has passed one of the most restrictive laws in the country banning abortions without six weeks, surpassing many women realise they are pregnant, with no exception for rape or incest. The Supreme Magistrate is considering whether to temporarily woodcut that law while legal challenges proceed.

If the magistrate sides with Mississippi, nearly half of US states would be poised to outlaw termination under statutes that include “trigger” provisions that automatically come into gravity if Roe is overturned, equal to the CRR.

The specimen has highlighted the decades-long, tightly polarised debate over termination rights in the US. Protesters from both sides gathered outside the Supreme Magistrate early on Wednesday morning, with the two rallies divided by a railing.

Carol, a 53-year-old woman who declined to requite her last name, said she had flown in from Indiana to be there and “be the voice for the voiceless and to protect human life”, adding: “I’m a Christian and I believe what the Bible says that God knit us together in the womb.”

Olivia Woods from Ohio, a 24-year-old organiser at URGE (Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity), a reproductive rights organisation focused on young people of colour and the queer community, said overturning Roe would be a “violent act”.

“It would be massive devastation that would hit wideness the country,” she said.

Public opinion in the US favours the current law, with 70 per cent of American adults, and two-thirds of American Catholics surveyed by Pew in 2019, saying they did not want to see Roe overturned.

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