A range of issues were discussed in this week’s oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—the most consequential abortion rights case in generations. Julie Rikelman, Senior Litigation Director for the Center for Reproductive Rights, represented Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi, before the Court.
The case—which challenges Mississippi’s law banning abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy—marks the first time the Supreme Court has agreed to consider the constitutionality of a pre-viability abortion ban since Roe v. Wade in 1973.
The nearly two-hour argument discussed the landmark rulings in Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey; stare decisis and the extremely narrow circumstances that would justify overriding decades of precedent; how generations have relied on the right to abortion; the importance of autonomy and bodily integrity to women’s lives; the impact of abortion bans; the safety of abortion and the risks of pregnancy; and the workability of the viability line, which has served as a bulwark against abortion bans for a half-century.
“Mississippi’s ban on abortion two months before viability is flatly unconstitutional under decades of precedent,” said Rikelman. “For a state to take control of a woman’s body and demand that she go through pregnancy and childbirth, with all the physical risks and life-altering consequences that brings, is a fundamental deprivation of her liberty.” Continue reading here.
Audio Replay and Transcript of Oral Arguments, 12.01.21