09.20.2021 – (PRESS RELEASE) Today, nearly 10,000 individuals and more than 420 organizations urged the Supreme Court to protect the right to abortion in friend-of-the-court (amicus) briefs. This historic outpouring of support for reproductive rights includes the voices of: thousands of people who have had abortions; the Biden Administration; professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe and other athletes; the American Medical Association; the American Bar Association; 236 Members of Congress; and many more.
The amicus briefs were filed in support of the last abortion clinic in Mississippi in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which will be heard by the Supreme Court Dec. 1. The case was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights and challenges the state’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy—a direct violation of Roe v. Wade.
Highlights from the more than 50 briefs include:
- More than 6,600 people who have had abortions share their stories, illustrating the necessity of abortion access and how it has shaped the lives of people in the U.S.
- U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team player Megan Rapinoe, WNBA All-Star Layshia Clarendon and more than 500 other Olympic, professional and collegiate athletes explain how access to abortion has allowed women, trans, and non-binary athletes to chart their own futures and pursue careers in professional sports.
- Leaders in racial and reproductive justice argue that the ability to access abortion is a means of ensuring Black women’s agency and autonomy. It is 75-times more dangerous for a person to carry a pregnancy to term in Mississippi than to have an abortion. Due to racial and economic disparities, that risk is disproportionately born by Black women—a damning inequity that illustrates the dangers of restricting access to reproductive health services.
- The Solicitor General of the U.S. urges the Court to reject Mississippi’s attempt to ban abortion before viability, which would upend decades of precedent. This brief puts the Biden Administration squarely on the side of protecting abortion access.
- 236 Members of Congress urge the Court to adhere to Roe v. Wade out of respect for precedent and to reaffirm its commitment to stare decisis and the rule of law.
- The American Bar Association and a coalition of women’s bar associations warn that overturning Roe v. Wade would cause “untold damage to the Court as an institution, and to our democracy,” and undermine gender equality. This marks the first time the ABA has weighed in directly on Roe v. Wade.
- The American Medical Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and 23 other leading medical groups warn that Mississippi’s abortion ban would harm pregnant people’s health, hitting marginalized populations the hardest. The groups argue that such bans are contrary to the core principles of medical ethics.
- Renowned constitutional law scholars warn that the right to abortion is connected to a wide array of other personal freedoms, including the right to marry. Upholding Mississippi’s abortion ban would jeopardize other constitutional rights Americans depend on.
“We know the vast majority of Americans support the right to abortion, and the politicians trying to ban it are fundamentally out of step with the public,” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Today, thousands of individuals from sports, law, medicine, government, and diverse walks of life are stepping forward to have their voices heard by the Supreme Court. The situation in Texas right now has given us a preview of the chaos that will ensue on an even larger scale nationwide if Roe is overturned. People seeking abortion in the South and Midwest would be forced to travel across the country, and many people would not have the means to do so. We cannot allow this to become our reality.”
Later this week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act—federal legislation that would protect the right to access abortion nationwide and declare bans like Mississippi’s illegal.
Jackson Women’s Health Organization is being represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the law firms Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and O’Melveny and Myers LLP, and the Mississippi Center for Justice.