The announcement is a boost to abortion opponents, who hope that a newly conservative court will be more receptive to abortion restrictions.
The Supreme Court said Monday it would consider the legality of Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which had been struck down by a lower court ruling.
The announcement is a boost to abortion opponents, who hope that a newly conservative court, especially after the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, will be more receptive to abortion restrictions.
Mississippi’s abortion restriction was the first to reach the court from a wave of state laws intended to challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which declared that access to abortion was a constitutional right.
Mississippi passed the Gestational Age Act in 2018, prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks except in cases of medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormality. Supporters said it was intended to regulate “inhumane procedures” and argued that a fetus was capable of detecting and responding to pain by then.
The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that states cannot restrict abortion before the age of viability, but Mississippi said it must be free to take account of advancements in medical knowledge that would shift the point of viability earlier in the pregnancy.
Federal District Judge Carlton Reeves for the Southern District of Mississippi struck the act down, saying the state “chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional to enforce a decades-long campaign, fueled by interest groups, to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling, prompting the state’s appeal to the Supreme Court.
Writing for the appeals panel, Judge Patrick Higginbotham said 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.”
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The Center for Reproductive Rights, representing the state’s only abortion clinic, said the Supreme Court has consistently held that “before viability, it is for the pregnant person, and not the state, to make the ultimate decision whether to continue a pregnancy.”
Viability, defined as the time at which a life could be sustained outside the womb, “has not moved and has instead remained the same since 1992” at about 23 to 24 weeks, the group said.
Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life, said in a statement Monday that most Americans believe abortion should be limited to the first three months of pregnancy “at most.”
“States should be allowed to craft laws that are in line with both public opinion on this issue as well as basic human compassion, instead of the extreme policy that Roe imposed,” Mancini said.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, another anti-abortion group, called the decision to take up the case “a landmark opportunity for the Supreme Court to recognize the right of states to protect unborn children from the horrors of painful late-term abortions.”
“It is time for the Supreme Court to catch up to scientific reality and the resulting consensus of the American people as expressed in elections and policy,” Dannenfelser said in a statement.
The court will hear the case in the fall.
Some 200 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including 59 children, and 10 have been killed in Israel, according to local officials.
By Saphora Smith and Lawahez Jabari
The Israeli military pounded the Gaza strip again early Monday, a day after dozens of Palestinians were killed in Israeli air raids amid growing international calls for an end to the bloodshed.
Hamas also pressed on, launching rockets at southern Israeli cities in the early hours.
The Israeli military said 54 fighter jets had struck underground tunnels used by Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, hitting what it described as 35 terror targets and roughly 9 miles of tunnels.
Three Palestinians were killed a day after 42 Palestinians died in air raids on Sunday — the deadliest day yet in the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas.
Image: Gaza city
Rescuers carry Suzy Eshkuntana, 6, as they pull her from the rubble of a building at the site of Israeli air strikes, in Gaza City, on Sunday.Mohammed Salem / Reuters
The Gaza Health ministry has put the death toll in the densely populated enclave of 2 million Palestinians at 200, including 59 children and 35 women. Ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children, Israeli authorities have said. According to officials there, 97 multistory apartment blocks and residential buildings have been destroyed since last Monday.
Penned in by a strict blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt, Palestinian civilians are trapped in densely populated Gaza with no bomb shelters and nowhere to go to protect themselves during bombings from raids.
The Israeli military and the Islamic Jihad militant group on Monday confirmed that a top commander of the Iran-backed militants had been killed in an airstrike.
The killing of Hasam Abu Harbid, commander of the northern division of the group, could further escalate tensions between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants, a smaller group than Hamas.
The Israeli military also said it had targeted the operators of a suspected Hamas naval weapon.
Israeli police said rockets had struck the Israeli cities of Beersheba and Ashdod, where a number of people were being treated for minor injures.
The Israeli rescue service Magen David Adom said that according to initial reports a rocket struck a building in Ashdod, injuring three people from broken glass and five others with stress symptoms.