US Supreme Court to Hear Case that Directly Challenges Abortion Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear arguments in December about a case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade, the decades-old ruling that gives women the right to an abortion.

The court scheduled oral arguments for December 1 to hear a case concerning a Mississippi state law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The case directly asks justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that allows women to have abortions in most circumstances. Roe v. Wade recognizes a constitutional right to abortion before a fetus is viable, typically around 24 weeks of pregnancy. 

The Supreme Court is being closely watched on issues of abortion after it decided earlier this month to allow a Texas state law banning most abortions after six weeks to remain in effect while it undergoes legal challenges.

The Republican-backed Texas law bars abortions once cardiac activity has been detected in an embryo, which typically happens at six weeks when most women are not aware they are pregnant. 

Last week, the Biden administration formally asked a federal judge to block enforcement of that law until legal challenges to it are resolved.

The Supreme Court became more conservative under President Donald Trump, who appointed three justices to the nine-seat bench. Conservatives now hold a 6-3 majority. 

The high court agreed in May to hear the Mississippi case, but its recent decision to allow the highly restrictive Texas law to take effect fueled speculation that a majority of the justices are inclined to formally curtail abortion rights.

The court’s next term begins in October. 


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