US Supreme Court judges have indicated that they will rule to uphold protections for unborn children in Mississippi.
The Court heard oral arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson, which sees the State of Mississippi pushing to overturn an obstacle to its pro-life law banning abortions after 15 weeks.
The State’s Solicitor General Scott Stewart argued that the current ‘foetal viability’ standard, where abortions are permitted up to 24 weeks, was not “tethered” to the US Constitution.
Currently, Mississippi law is being opposed on the grounds that the limit is earlier than two previous Court decisions – Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey – permit.
Campaigners hope a favourable ruling will undermine the precedents under which nearly 63 million babies have been killed by legal abortions in the US since 1973.
Stewart said that both cases “haunt our country” and “poison the law”.
He added that states “should be able to be concerned about the fact of an unborn life being poked and then recoiling in the way one of us would recoil”.
‘A grievous wrong’
Chief Justice, John Roberts, indicated his willingness to uphold the 15-week limit without touching Roe or Casey.
Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney-Barrett signalled that they were inclined to go further, with the latter offering an option of placing unwanted babies up for adoption as an alternative to abortion.
One Justice, Clarence Thomas, is openly calling for Roe to be revoked, arguing last year that: “Our abortion precedents are grievously wrong and should be overruled”.
A decision is not expected before June 2022.
‘Ash heap of history’
Speaking before the hearing, former Vice President Mike Pence expressed his hope that Roe would be overturned, asking the Court to “restore the sanctity of life to the centre of American law”.
He added: “We may well be on the verge of an era when the Supreme Court sends Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs.”
His sentiment was later echoed by the pro-life group National Right to Life. Its President, Carol Tobias, told the BBC that she hoped the Court would “say that unborn human beings deserve the same protection as born human beings”.
unborn human beings deserve the same protection as born human beings
If Roe is overturned, or the Mississippi law is ruled as not placing an undue burden on women seeking abortions, at least 21 states are expected to introduce pro-life legislation that would protect the unborn.
‘Science is clear’
Last month, a group representing tens of thousands of medical doctors told the Supreme Court to defend unborn babies.
The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, which represents more than 30,000 health professionals, said: “The science is clear – at the moment of fertilization, a new distinct, living and whole human being comes into existence. Abortion, which is an action whose sole intent is to end this life, clearly violates the basic tenets of medical ethics.”