For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, the state of Mississippi submitted its final brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case explicitly asking the Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This case concerns Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban and is a direct challenge to Roe. There is no path for the Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi’s abortion ban without overturning the landmark decision recognizing the constitutional right to abortion.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Acting President Adrienne Kimmell released the following statement in response:
“The state of Mississippi openly asked the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade twice. Its intentions are clear. With a supermajority on the Supreme Court openly hostile to reproductive freedom, we are at a moment of crisis—and the future of legal abortion hangs in the balance. No matter the spin the Court’s anti-choice justices may use to avoid laying bare their extremist agenda, the reality is that upholding Mississippi’s ban on abortion would overturn Roe v. Wade. We must take action now to cement the right to abortion care across the country by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act.”
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was filed in March 2018 by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Jackson Women’s Health Organization—the last remaining clinic providing abortion care in Mississippi—to block the state’s blatantly unconstitutional ban on abortion after 15 weeks. This case directly threatens the future of Roe. If Roe fell tomorrow, 12 states — including Mississippi — already have “trigger bans” in place, which would outlaw abortion automatically. A total of at least 24 states would likely take swift action to ban abortion outright.
Today’s brief comes after 228 anti-choice U.S. senators and representatives signed an amicus brief in this case in July calling on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Oral arguments in Jackson Women’s Health Organization are scheduled for December 1.
The Court will hear this case against the backdrop of unyielding attacks on reproductive freedom and an increasingly dire landscape for abortion access in this country. Just last month, Texas’ vigilante-enforced ban on abortion went into effect, effectively shutting off all abortion access in the state. While a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas recently temporarily paused the cruel ban, it is now back in effect and its dangerous repercussions continue to be felt throughout the country. Already, anti-choice state lawmakers in 12 states and counting have signaled that they intend to pursue copycat legislation in their own states.
Texas’ draconian SB 8 joined more than 330 bills attacking abortion access pushed in states in 2021 alone. This year, 106 restrictions on abortion access have been enacted at the state level, making it the worst year for abortion rights since Roe was decided.
Mississippi’s latest efforts to undermine Roe v. Wade, coupled with unrelenting state-level attacks on abortion access, underscore the urgent need for the U.S. Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to protect the right to abortion throughout the United States should Roe fall. Every day without action means that more and more people are being denied their constitutional right to abortion—and this disproportionately affects women; Black, Indigenous, people of color; members of the LGBTQ+ community; and those with lower incomes.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, paid family leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination—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 8 in 10 Americans who support safe, legal abortion.