WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has agreed to consider a major rollback of abortion rights, saying it will take up Mississippi’s bid to enforce a 15-week ban on abortion.
The court’s order Monday sets up a showdown over abortion, probably in the fall, with a more conservative court apparently ready to dramatically alter nearly 50 years of rulings on abortion rights.
The court first announced a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. However, after President Donald Trump appointed three justices to the Supreme Court during his four-year term in office, the high court is now reliably conservative for the first time in a generation.
Mississippi's ban had been blocked by lower courts as inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent that protects a woman’s right to obtain an abortion before the fetus can survive outside her womb.
Mississippi is one of several states controlled by Republican legislatures that have passed bills in recent years that significantly curtail access to abortions. According to NPR, 11 states — including Mississippi — have already laws on the books that would ban abortions in the state in the event that Roe v. Wade was overturned.
While Roe v. Wade protects every woman's right to an abortion legal critics argue that the Supreme Court could potentially rule that each state should be able to decide the legality of abortions.