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Roe v. Wade in the Balance: What you Need to Know About Dobbs v. Jackson

John Wesley Reid - ANALYSIS : Nov 29, 2021  CBN News

There are essentially three possible outcomes of Dobbs: The Court can strike down the Mississippi abortion law, the Court can uphold the Mississippi abortion law while still maintaining Roe, or the Court can uphold the Mississippi abortion law and overturn Roe altogether.

[CBN News] On December 1, Roe v. Wade will face a significant threat: Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health. (Image: Public lays flowers at US Supreme Court for 'Remembering the Unborn Memorial' /Credit: Patrick Robertson)

Capitol Hill police expect up to 20,000 protestors on the morning of December 1, an historic turnout of pro-life and pro-choice advocacy that will likely result in a larger crowd than any Supreme Court demonstration ever.

Addressed in this article:

How is Dobbs different than other abortion cases?
What are the potential outcomes to Dobbs and how can it impact Roe?
How are the justices likely to rule?
The timeline of the battle against Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban.

Quick Facts

  • On Wednesday, December 1, the Supreme Court will hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health.
    • Dobbs is the first Roe-threatening case to be reviewed by the Court since 1992.
    • The case centers on a Mississippi law that bans abortion procedures after 15 weeks.
    • The 15-week ban has been struck down by two federal courts.
    • The Court is likely to announce its decision next June.
    How is Dobbs different than other abortion cases?

The Supreme Court has reviewed several cases related to abortion since 1973's Roe decision. But of these cases, only Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 addressed the Roe precedent. Other cases involving abortion were related to late-term abortions, free speech rights of pro-life advocates, and restrictions on abortion providers based on ambulatory care or proximities to particular medical services, among other issues.

Viability

A major component to Roe was the issue of viability. In Dobbs, the Supreme Court has agreed to address the question:

"Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional."

Why is this question significant?

This question is significant because Roe forbids states from prohibiting abortion pre-viability. This prohibition is the very reason why lower courts have kept Roe in place. Indeed one of the judges that struck down Mississippi's law in the lower federal courts said,

"In an unbroken line dating to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's abortion cases have established (and affirmed, and re-affirmed) a woman's right to choose an abortion before viability. States may regulate abortion procedures prior to viability so long as they do not impose an undue burden on the woman's right, but they may not ban abortions."

The fact that the US Supreme Court is revisiting viability is entirely implicative that their decision will, in some fashion, directly impact the Roe precedent.

What are the potential outcomes to Dobbs?

There are essentially three possible outcomes of Dobbs: The Court can strike down the Mississippi abortion law, the Court can uphold the Mississippi abortion law while still maintaining Roe, or the Court can uphold the Mississippi abortion law and overturn Roe altogether. John Bursch, who serves as senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, spoke with the Freedom Center's managing editor John Wesley Reid to expound on the potential outcomes of Dobbs.

Bursch has argued 12 cases before the US Supreme Court and over 30 state Supreme Courts. According to the Federalist Society, Bursch has the "third-highest success rate for persuading justices to adopt his legal position," compared to other lawyers not working for the federal government... Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

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