Jackson Women's Health, the lone abortion clinic in the state, warned that people would be harmed if Roe V. Wade was overturned.
As states pass anti-abortion laws, the lone abortion clinic in Mississippi is calling on the US Supreme Court to not undermine abortion rights that have a sweeping effect across America for millions. Jackson Women's Health, the abortion clinic, wrote to the court in a brief filed on Monday, warning that the court's own credibility was hanging in the balance. "People would be harmed, and chaos would ensue, even in states that claim not to be prohibiting abortion directly," wrote the attorneys for Jackson Women's Health, reported Good Morning America. "Two generations — spanning almost five decades — have come to depend on the availability of legal abortion, and the right to make this decision has been further cemented as critical to gender equality," they wrote.
Jackson Women's Health filed the brief at a time when anti-abortion laws are being passed across the country. Texas passed a restrictive abortion law that side-steps Roe V. Wade and punishes anyone who provides abortion or aides in providing abortion. Mississippi passed a law in 2018 attempting to ban all abortions after 15 weeks, but lower courts blocked the measure citing Roe v. Wade in 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. The state has directly requested the Supreme Court to overturn those rulings. "Scientific advances show that an unborn child has taken on the human form and features months before viability. States should be able to act on those developments," Mississippi told the court in July. "But Roe and Casey shackle states to a view of the facts that is decades out of date." The SC is expected to revisit the decision later this year.
Jackson Women's Health wanted that the court's own reputation was on the line. "Unless the court is to be perceived as representing nothing more than the preferences of its current membership, it is critical that judicial protection hold firm absent the most dramatic and unexpected changes in law or fact," wrote the attorneys. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court failed to block Texas' restrictive abortion law that all but bans abortions in the state. "While Texas is circumventing Roe and the Constitution, Mississippi is openly asking the court to overturn Roe," said Nancy Northup, president, and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing Jackson Women's Health and challenging against the anti-abortion law in Texas. "If the court grants Mississippi's request to overturn Roe, large swaths of the South and Midwest — where abortion is already hard to access — will eliminate abortion completely," she said.
The Supreme Court's reputation has already taken a hit in the wake of the judges voting 5-4 against blocking Texas' anti-abortion law. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sought to placate the public claiming that the court was not partisan hacks. “My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” she told the guests at the opening of the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, reported Courier-Journal.
There is a widespread push among conservatives to ban abortion across America with eleven states already passing "trigger laws" that would immediately ban all or nearly all abortions if Roe were overturned. Jackson Women's Health said it performs abortions up to 16 weeks and said, on average, 100 women seek abortions after 15 weeks in Mississippi in a year. "Accepting Mississippi's request to abandon the viability line would turn back the clock for generations who have never known what it means to be without the fundamental right to make the decision whether to continue a pregnancy," read the brief write. The US Department of Justice has already filed a lawsuit against Texas over the restrictive abortion law.