For Immediate Release: May 17, 2021
Court’s alarming decision to review case involving Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban underscores acute threat to reproductive freedom
Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case involving Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe v. Wade and violates nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent. There is no path for the Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi’s abortion ban without overturning Roe’s core holding, illustrating the direct and acute threat to reproductive freedom across the country. The Mississippi ban threatens doctors who provide abortion care with severe civil penalties for providing abortion care after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Chief Campaigns and Advocacy Officer Christian LoBue released the following statement in response:
“The Supreme Court’s decision to review this unconstitutional ban is an ominous sign and an alarming reminder that the threat to the legal right to abortion is imminent and real. If Roe v. Wade were to fall as a result of this case, states across the country are poised to ban abortion. The impact would be devastating, especially on those who already face the greatest barriers to care, including people of color, trans and non-binary people, those with lower incomes, and those in rural areas.
Although Donald Trump is no longer in the White House, he leaves behind a dark legacy of anti-choice, anti-freedom judges hostile to our fundamental rights. The anti-choice movement is laser-focused on banning abortion and determined to capitalize on the anti-choice supermajority Trump solidified on the Court.
With the future of reproductive freedom on the line like never before, NARAL and our 2.5 million members will be fighting every step of the way to ensure that Roe and the legal right to abortion remain intact.”
Today’s news comes as anti-choice lawmakers in states across the country are waging war on reproductive freedom. They have escalated their blatantly unconstitutional attacks on abortion access―going as far as to advance legislation criminalizing pregnant people and doctors who provide abortion care―all in hopes of rolling back or overturning Roe v. Wade. This year alone, anti-choice politicians have introduced, advanced, or passed over 300 bills attacking reproductive freedom and abortion access.
Despite the anti-choice movement’s relentless efforts to restrict reproductive freedom and ban abortion, the vast majority of Americans support reproductive freedom. Polling has found that 77% support Roe v. Wade, and there is no state in the country where banning abortion is popular.
If Roe fell tomorrow, 24 states would likely take action to ban abortion outright. Eleven states already have “trigger bans” in place, which would ban abortion immediately if Roe is overturned. The Court’s decision to hear this case now—more than a year into a pandemic where people are already facing barriers to access time-sensitive and needed care—is especially troubling.
The case in question, Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Dobbs, was filed in March 2018 by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Jackson Women’s Health Organization—the last remaining clinic in Mississippi—to block the state’s unconstitutional ban on abortion after 15 weeks.
For years, anti-choice, anti-freedom politicians have worked to chip away at the right to abortion. When abortion care is banned, lives are on the line. Overturning or gutting Roe would only endanger people and potentially criminalize trying to make the best decisions for their lives and futures.
It is more urgent than ever that Congress take action to protect reproductive freedom and abortion access and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). WHPA is a critical step toward creating a world where every body is free to make the best healthcare decisions for themselves, their families, and their lives, without political interference.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.