The court is considering the legality of the state’s Gestation Age Act, which seeks to prohibit abortions after 15 weeks except in cases of a “medical emergency” or “severe fetal abnormality.” The bill was signed into law in 2018, but it was blocked by two federal courts.
Under the law, doctors who intentionally or knowingly perform an abortion after 15 weeks could have their licenses to practice medicine in Mississippi suspended or revoked. They may also be subject to additional penalties or fines.
This case is about one of several state laws intended to challenge the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that declared that access to having an abortion is a constitutional right. That landmark decision legalized abortion prior to viability, which CNN reports can occur at around 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The oral arguments in the Mississippi will come three months after the Supreme Court allowed a Texas law to go into effect that bans abortions in the state after six weeks, a time when many pregnant women don’t know they’re expecting.
The consideration of the Mississippi comes at a time when conservative justices hold a 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court, giving hope to those wanting to see Roe v. Wade overturned or diminished. Meanwhile, those supporting abortion rights are fearful it will be upended.
Also on Monday, nearly 900 legislators from 45 states asked the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade and reject Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, NBC News reports.