The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Dec. 1 in a case from Mississippi that tests whether all state laws that ban pre-viability abortions are unconstitutional.
The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org, has the potential to pose a serious challenge to Roe v. Wade. That’s the 1973 ruling that declared that a woman has a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy in the first six months of her pregnancy when the fetus is incapable of surviving outside the womb.
Mississippi bans most abortions after 15 weeks, significantly before fetal viability. A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most conservative in the country, blocked enforcement of the law, finding it in conflict with Roe v. Wade and subsequent abortion decisions.
Mississippi’s law is one of many that conservative states have passed in the last year or more, seeking to eliminate or severely restrict abortion. Bans on pre-viability, abortion bans have been struck down, until now, in a dozen states since 2019, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Tennessee.
The court had agreed to hear the case in May. Today’s announcement puts a date on that decision.
The court’s announcement came weeks after the high court allowed Texas to move forward – for now — with a new law to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. This happens usually after six weeks, which is often before women even know they’re pregnant.