WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an abortion case with the possible outcome of overturning Roe v. Wade, with a decision expected mid-2022. Live audio of the oral arguments was available to the public.
The essential issue at hand in Dobbs v. Jackson pertains to fetal viability. In 2018, Mississippi governor Phil Bryant signed the Gestational Age Act, banning abortions after fifteen weeks’ gestation, while the Roe standard maintains the right to obtain an abortion up to the point of viability, around 24 weeks (although infants as young as 21 weeks old have survived outside the womb). The constitutionality of the statute was challenged by Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an abortion provider. The court will determine whether this law can be upheld in part, in full, or not at all. While the Supreme Court does not make law, this decision could result in states being able to enforce restrictions on pre-viability abortions for the first time since Roe v. Wade.
One of three outcomes is likely to emerge: The Supreme Court would respect the essential holding of Roe, maintaining that a Constitutional right to obtain an abortion exists, but on a narrower basis.
Alternatively, the court could fully overturn Roe and find that the Constitution does not protect the right to obtain an abortion and states must make determinations about abortion law individually.
Or, the court could determine that the Mississippi law in question violates the current framework or “settled law,” rendering no change.
A fact sheet from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) notes that “The U.S. is 1 of only 6 nations that permits abortion up to the day of birth, along with China and North Korea.” ADF, along with numerous Christian and pro-life organizations, participated in rallies that attracted both pro-life and pro-abortion demonstrators to the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning.
Several days in advance of the oral arguments, NRB CEO Troy Miller joined a prayer gathering of pastors and Christian leaders in Jackson, Mississippi, on Sunday, November 28, hosted by NRB member organization Family Research Council. Miller prayed in particular that women considering abortion would instead be connected with loving adoptive families for their unborn children.
FRC president Tony Perkins said at the event, “We’re gathered here in Jackson and across America with one mind, and that is to pray that God would restore an understanding that He alone is the Author of life, and we are the beneficiaries if we embrace that truth.