Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court agreed to take up an abortion case that addresses the constitutionality of a 15-week abortion ban passed into law in Mississippi.
The Mississippi statute prohibits abortion if the age of the unborn child, as calculated from the first day of the last menstrual cycle, is greater than 15 weeks.1 There is an exception for severe fetal abnormality and “medical emergency.”2 The statute defines “medical emergency” as “a condition in which, on the basis of the physician's good faith clinical judgment, an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition arising from the pregnancy itself, or when the continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”3
Lower courts struck down the Mississippi statute under Casey. State officials subsequently filed a petition for certiorari, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up three questions. Today, the Supreme Court granted certiorari on the first of the three questions: “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”4 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, No 19-1392 (U.S. May 17, 2021) (order granting certiorari).
The case will be briefed over the next few months and is expected to be orally argued in the October 2021 Term with a decision likely at the end of June 2022. No date has yet been set for argument. Stay tuned for further updates as this case moves forward.