Washington, D.C.—Today, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the most consequential abortion rights case in generations: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involves Mississippi’s abortion ban and is a direct challenge to a person’s constitutional right to decide whether to continue a pregnancy and the legal precedent set in Roe v. Wade. A direct consequence of the law at the heart of this case is an uptick in copycat bans across the nation like the recent S.B. 8 in Texas that bans abortion after just 6 weeks, before many know they are pregnant.
Since 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed over and over again that the Constitution guarantees the right to abortion. This basic truth has never gone away: Abortion is essential to our health, our lives, and our futures. The only outcome consistent with the rule of law is for the Supreme Court to strike down Mississippi’s abortion ban.
“If Roe is overturned, let’s be clear about who it would hurt the most,” LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director at Progress Virginia said. “The impact of abortion restrictions and bans fall hardest on people who already face discriminatory obstacles to health care: women, Black, Indigenous & other people of color, the LGBTQI+ community, immigrants, young people, people with disabilities, and those struggling to make ends meet. Not only is this a matter of healthcare, but also a matter of racial justice and gender equality. Regardless of the outcome of this case, the right to decide if or when to have a child is essential to our health, our lives, and our futures. Being able to make personal decisions about our bodies and our futures is central to every person’s liberty. As the Court hears oral arguments today, we are hopeful they will make the right decision and affirm our right to abortion in this country.”
“Everyone’s reproductive freedom is on the line right now. Never have we seen such vicious attacks on the right to abortion and access to it since Roe became the law of the land nearly 50 years ago. We know what a post-Roe world looks like. We’ve seen how people seeking abortion care and their providers are criminalized for accessing essential healthcare,” Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said. “Let’s be perfectly clear, abortion restrictions are dangerous and infringe upon our constitutional rights and our personal freedoms. If abortion bans pass, like the 15-week Mississippi ban being challenged in the Dobbs v. Jackson Whole Women’s Health case, people will suffer; communities will suffer; democracy will suffer. The majority of Americans – 7 in 10 – support the underpinnings of Roe and they do not want politicians interfering in their personal medical decisions. But we can no longer rely on the U.S. Supreme Court to protect this fundamental, human right that allows a person to control their body and chart their future. That is what each and every person wants for themselves and their family. This fight has and will continue to be in the states no matter the outcome. But it will get a whole lot harder. We must remain unified in the pursuit of expanding and protecting access to abortion across the Commonwealth and be a safe haven for those who need care.”
Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia said, “Today, the state of Mississippi has explicitly asked the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the last several months in Texas would be a prologue to the chaos and confusion that will come in the 26 states that could move to ban abortion. This would leave millions more people without access, mostly across the South and Midwest. In Virginia, we are facing an anti-sexual and reproductive health governor, House of Delegates and the tie-breaking vote in the Senate now belongs to an anti-abortion lieutenant governor who has voiced support for Texas S.B. 8. We cannot allow our Commonwealth to be pushed back in time by reinstating harmful restrictions, banning abortion and defunding essential health care services. Make no mistake: our rights are under attack from city councils to state legislatures to the nation’s highest court. Planned Parenthood supporters will not back down and will continue to fight to ensure reproductive freedom is protected in Virginia and beyond.”
How we got here:
- March 19, 2018—In response to Mississippi’s ban on abortion after just 15 weeks of pregnancy, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Mississippi Center for Justice, and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison file a lawsuit challenging the blatantly unconstitutional ban on behalf of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the last abortion clinic in Mississippi.
- June 15, 2020—After the ban is struck down in lower courts, the state of Mississippi asks the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.
- May 17, 2021—The Supreme Court announces it would hear Mississippi’s appeal of the Fifth Circuit’s decision to strike down the law.
- July 22, 2021—In its opening brief to the Supreme Court, the state of Mississippi repeatedly and explicitly asks the Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
- July 29, 2021—Organizations seeking to end legal abortion file amicus briefs in support of Mississippi’s efforts to overturn Roe.
- September 13, 2021—Jackson Women’s Health Organization files its opening brief, rejecting Mississippi’s arguments, and asking the Court to strike down the Mississippi law and defend the core holding of Roe.
- September 20, 2021—Nearly 10,000 individuals and more than 420 organizations submit amicus briefs to the Court supporting Jackson Women’s Health Organization’s case and urging the Court to preserve the constitutional protections for abortion.
- October 13, 2021—Mississippi files its reply brief, doubling down on many of the same arguments made in its opening brief.
- December 1, 2021—Oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court.