WASHINGTON (CNS) – Catholic leaders, pro-life organizations, Republican members of Congress and several governors are among a long list of supporters supporting Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and urging the court to reconsider its previous decisions on abortion when it resumes this case in the fall.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in its friend of the court brief filed July 27, stressed that abortion is not a constitutionally created right and called it “inherently different from other types of personal decisions to which this court has granted constitutional protection.
Referring to the major abortion court rulings, the brief warned that if the Supreme Court “continued to treat abortion as a constitutional issue” it would face more questions in the future about “what kinds of abortion regulations are allowed â.
The two major abortion court decisions were Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court case that legalized abortion, and Casey v. Planned Parenthood from 1992, which asserted Roe and also pointed out that state regulation on abortion could not place an “undue burden” on abortion. a woman “seeking an abortion before the fetus reaches viability”.
Other Catholic groups echoed the USCCB, which was joined in its brief by other religious groups and the two Mississippi dioceses, in their support for the state’s abortion ban after 15 weeks.
The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, was taken to court last year, but judges did not agree to take it over in the next term until the end of May.
The case centers on a Mississippi appeal to uphold its ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which was overturned in a Mississippi federal district court in 2018 and upheld a year later by the United States Court of Appeals. United States based in New Orleans for the 5th Circuit.
A brief by O. Carter Snead, professor of law at the University of Notre Dame and director of the university’s Center for Ethics and Culture, and Mary Ann Glendon, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, reported said the Mississippi case “offers the cleanest opportunity.” since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 to have the court re-examine its deeply flawed and prejudicial “case law, or theory of law, on abortion decisions.
They also said the abortion court rulings were “completely detached from the text, history and tradition of the Constitution” and imposed “an extreme, inconsistent, impractical and undemocratic legal regime for abortion. to the nation for several decades “.
Likewise, a brief filed by the National Association of Catholic Nurses and the Catholic Medical Association urged the court to back out of the “arbitrary design that Roe and Casey have engaged in in attempting to settle the abortion controversy.” .
“There is no non-arbitrary line during pregnancy that the court can draw,” the groups added, noting that “the life of unborn children follows a continuum into adulthood from conception.”
The brief also stated that “any arbitrary line by which the court might seek to replace the viability threshold would simply amount to another act of judicial legislation,” which is why, they argued, the matter should be returned to elected officials.
Other Catholic or pro-life groups that filed briefs supporting Mississippi in this case included the Thomas More Society, the National Catholic Bioethics Center, the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, who joined other religious and civilian groups, the National Right to Life Committee, the Americans United for Life, and the March for Life Education and Advocacy Fund.
Other groups submitting friend of the court briefs included 228 Republican members of Congress – 184 House members and 44 senators – a dossier separated by three Republican senators and a brief by 12 Republican governors. The governors specifically urged the court to return the power to regulate abortion to the state level.
The case, which is already receiving a lot of attention, will be the first abortion right review since Judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed in court last year.
Mississippi’s law is being challenged by the state’s only abortion center, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
In announcing that they would take up this case, the judges said they would only consider one of three questions put to them: “Are all predictability bans on elective abortions unconstitutional?” “
In other words, they focus on viability, or when a fetus is said to be able to survive on its own. The Supreme Court has always ruled that states cannot restrict abortion before the 24 week mark. The ban on abortions after 15 weeks is more restrictive than the current law.
If the court sided with the Mississippi, it would be the first time it would allow a ban on abortion before the viability point, and could lay the groundwork for other abortion restrictions, which other states could. to follow.
Kat Talalas, deputy director of pro-life communications for the USCCB, said when the court accepted the case it was the largest abortion case to go to court in nearly 30 years.
She said judges could set criteria other than viability, such as fetal pain, to restrict abortions or they could “completely overthrow Roe and Casey.”
Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim