Yes. A case currently before the court, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involves a 2018 Mississippi law restricting most abortions after 15 weeks. The case centers on the question of “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional,” or whether states can ban abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb, making it a direct challenge to Roe and Casey.
What will happen if Roe is overturned?
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the question of abortion legalization or restriction will return to the states. State policy would vary widely on the question of abortion, with the practice being automatically outlawed in several states, and explicity protected in others.
If Roe is overturned and women who would have chosen an abortion are unable to get them, many more babies and mothers will need care than previously. Pro-life organizations are marshalling resources to offer support.
That said, abortions will continue in states which have passed laws to protect access to it, and some states, such as Colorado, have explicitly positioned themselves as destinations where women can travel from states with restrictions to avail themselves of abortions.
The federal government under President Joe Biden has attempted preemptively to pass a bill codifying Roe v. Wade into federal law, which if passed would supersede state-level pro-life laws, but such attempts so far have failed.
What will happen if Roe is not overturned?
There are a number of scenarios that could come to fruition that involve Roe remaining in place.
If the Supreme Court does not overturn Roe, but upholds Mississippi’s 15-week ban, other states with a court-blocked 15-week bans, such as Arizona, could see their laws come into effect. Additionally, other pro-life states may pass 15-week bans now that they are constitutionally allowed to do so.
If the Mississippi law is struck down, and Roe and Casey are affirmed, it would be a devastating setback for the pro-life movement, which has pinned its long-term legal strategy on someday having a “conservative” supermajority on the Supreme Court, as is the case today.
(Story continues below)
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So… How likely is it that Roe v. Wade will be overturned?
A leaked draft opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, which has been confirmed to be genuine though not necessarily final, suggests that the court is indeed poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The draft, reported on May 2 after being leaked to Politico, shows the court siding with Mississippi, as well as a thoroughly repudiating Roe and Casey.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Associate Justice Samuel Alito writes in the 98-page draft document, which is labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.”
“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
The Politico news report said that four justices had joined Alito in the majority, three are preparing dissents, and Chief Justice John Roberts — often a swing vote — had not yet settled on a side.
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