Supreme Court Charts Next Move on Abortion Limits

The Supreme Court will meet privately on Friday to consider if it should take up a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

As various states continue to adopt abortion prohibitions, many of the new laws are headed to the high court. As a result, the justices could opt to wait to take any action on abortion, CNN reported.

Mississippi officials had appealed a ruling by an appellate court that had invalidated the 15-week ban. The ruling found that the Supreme Court precedent prevents prohibitions when the fetus would be unable to live outside the womb.

The case stems from a Mississippi abortion clinic suing the state in 2018, shortly after then-Gov. Phil Bryant signed the 15-week ban. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled it was unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Reeves had ruled correctly.

But in late 2019, Mississippi asked the entire appeals court to reconsider the case, and the full panel later denied the request.

If the Supreme Court justices do agree to take up the 15-week abortion ban it, would likely spark intense national debate. And even if they deny the Mississippi petition, individual justices could issue statements regarding the denial and elaborate on their arguments for future rollbacks on abortions, CNN noted.

Mississippi’s Attorney General Lynn Fitch is urging justices to hear the case. Fitch has asked the court to clarify its standard and to disallow clinic lawsuits on behalf of women.