On Wednesday, December 1, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in what could be one the most important cases in decades for the right of states to protect preborn life.
The case centers around Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act (HB 1510), which was signed into law by then Governor Phil Bryant in 2018. The law bans all abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergency and severe fetal abnormalities.
Pro-abortion campaigners frequently try to paint commonsense, pro-life pieces of legislation like HB 1510 as radical and out of the mainstream.
But in reality, it is the United States’ permissible abortion laws that are truly radical.
As noted by the Mississippi legislature in the Gestational Age Act, “The United States is one of only seven nations in the world that permits nontherapeutic or elective abortion-on-demand after the twentieth week of gestation.”
“Fully 75% of all nations do not permit abortion after 12 weeks gestation, except (in most instances) to save the life and to preserve the physical health of the mother,” the Mississippi legislature wrote.
On Sunday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves appeared on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” with show host Chuck Todd to defend the law.
Gov. Reeves said he believes the Supreme Court could choose to uphold the act by modifying, but not overturning, Roe v. Wade – the 1973 Supreme Court decision which decreed abortion to be legal nationwide.
In 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court reaffirmed Roe’s holding that a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion, and created the “undue-burden” standard, stipulating that states cannot impose an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion prior to the point in time her baby would be considered viable outside the womb.
A preborn baby is generally considered viable around 24 weeks gestation, before which states are severely restricted in their ability to protect preborn life under the Supreme Court’s current precedents.
Mississippi’s 15-week limit runs counter to the court’s decisions in Roe and Casey – which is exactly the point of HB 1510.
Notably, some very premature babies have been able to survive outside the womb at 23, 22 and even 21 weeks gestation.
Speaking to Chuck Todd, Gov. Reeves said, “I also believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. I believe in a simple reading of the United States Constitution, that when Roe was decided in 1973, there is no fundamental right in our United States Constitution to an abortion.”
“If you read the Constitution, there is nowhere in the Constitution that prohibits individual states, states like Mississippi, to limit access to abortions,” Gov. Reeves added.
Todd then asked Reeves why he disagrees with President Biden’s vaccine mandate and affirms that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine should be a personal choice, but then favors laws regulating abortion access.
“The far left … absolutely ignore[s] the fact that in getting an abortion, there is an actual killing of an innocent, unborn child that is in that womb.”
“The difference between vaccine mandates and abortions is vaccines allow you to protect yourself. Abortions actually go in and kill other American babies,” Gov Reeves added.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, former President Donald Trump promised that he would appoint pro-life judges to the Supreme Court.
In his first term, President Trump appointed one-third of the court’s justices: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
At the very least, the Mississippi case will likely reveal how each of these new justices think about the high court’s abortion jurisprudence.
So far, only Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by former President George H.W. Bush, has gone on record saying he believes Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, and should be overturned.
In a 2020 Supreme Court decision regarding a pro-life Louisiana law, Justice Thomas wrote that the Supreme Court’s previous abortion cases “created the right to abortion out of whole cloth, without a shred of support from the Constitution’s text. Our abortion precedents are grievously wrong and should be overruled.
“Roe is grievously wrong for many reasons, but the most fundamental is that its core holding—that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to abort her unborn child—finds no support in the text of the Fourteenth Amendment,” the justice stated plainly.
The founding fathers created the judicial branch of government to have “neither force nor will, but merely judgment.”
Because of this, they believed that the courts “will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution.”
And yet, by morphing into a quasi-dictatorial legislature, the Supreme Court has endangered that right which the signers of the Declaration of Independence contended was most preeminent: the right to life.
Because Supreme Court justices are not elected, nor accountable to the people, you may feel as if there is not anything you can do to change the outcome of the upcoming case.
But as Christians, we know that even though the case will be fought in the courtroom, the fight to protect millions of preborn babies from being killed is a very real spiritual battle.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
So, as the Supreme Court considers Mississippi’s law on December 1, consider fasting and praying for justice to prevail. Pray for wisdom for the attorneys who will be arguing Mississippi’s case. Pray that the justices will be receptive to their arguments. And pray that a culture of life will be restored to our nation.
The case is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Photo from Shutterstock.