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Possible Big Decisions at the U.S. Supreme Court as It Enters the Second Half of Its Term

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Won U.S. Supreme Court
Last Updated

Summary

The Gestational Age Act is a Mississippi law that protects the health of pregnant mothers, the dignity of unborn children, and the integrity of the medical profession by limiting abortions after 15 weeks in gestational age, permitting them only in medical emergencies or for severe fetal abnormality. Mississippi’s law highlights a conflict between the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade and the court’s repeated affirmation in subsequent cases that states have a legitimate interest in limiting abortion and protecting “vulnerable and innocent life” from the moment of conception. On December 1, 2021, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for this case. 

On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that wrongly found a constitutional right to abortion. The Court upheld Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act which protects unborn children and their mothers by limiting abortion to 15 weeks gestation. With Roe gone, states are once again empowered to protect women and their babies. ADF was honored to serve on the Mississippi team defending the law at the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. From working with Mississippi lawmakers and Governor Bryant to draft and enact the Gestational Age Act in 2018 to helping defend this important law with the State of Mississippi, ADF has been privileged to ensure that women and their unborn children are protected and cherished in Mississippi. ADF will continue to work with state and federal legislatures to ensure that life is a human right protected across the country and that mothers, fathers, and their children receive the care they need to choose life and thrive.

 

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Legal Documents

Court
Title
Date
U.S. Supreme Court
6/24/2022
U.S. Supreme Court
10/22/2020
U.S. Supreme Court
9/2/2020
U.S. Supreme Court
6/15/2020

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens now that Roe v. Wade is overturned?

Since the Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion policy will become a state-level decision, as it was prior to the Roe ruling. Now the people within each state will be free to debate and decide how best to protect life and limit abortion and enact laws that reflect and align with their state’s values.

Read more about what happens next here.

When did SCOTUS decide Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization?

The Court heard oral arguments for Dobbs on December 1, 2021 and released its opinion on June 24, 2022.

Who argued Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization?

Scott Stewart, Solicitor General of Mississippi, argued for the petitioners (Dobbs). Julie Rikelman from the Center for Reproductive Rights and Elizabeth Prelogar, Solicitor General of the United States, argued for the respondents (Jackson Women’s Health Organization).

With the Dobbs decision, is the U.S. out of step with other countries on abortion?

Unlike how pro-abortion advocates portray the United States, the Roe and Casey decisions left America as an extreme outlier in the world on abortion law and policy, in the company of countries like China and North Korea. These decisions allowed for unrestricted access to abortions up until viability (at 21 or 22 weeks of age), with many states permitting it even until birth. But did you know:

  • 75% of nations limit abortions after 12 weeks.
  • We are one of only eight countries in the world that allow abortion up until viability
  • We are one of only six nations—including China and North Korea—that allows abortion-on-demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

The Dobbs decision overturned Roe and Casey, allowing states to affirm life as a human right throughout pregnancy and ensuring that women have greater access to the support and resources that they actually need and deserve.

What was ADF’s role in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization?

ADF was honored to work with Mississippi to help draft and defend its pro-life law all the way to the Supreme Court. ADF will continue our crucial efforts to promote life-affirming laws, defend those laws in federal and state courts, and build a culture that recognizes that life is a human right and that women and their unborn children must be supported and cherished across the country.

Why should states adopt pro-life laws?

They promote science and reflect lessons learned from advanced medicine and technology. When the Supreme Court delivered the Roe decision in 1973, ultrasounds and sonograms weren’t widely available. Today, 3D and 4D images of unborn babies, even at the earliest stages, so closely resemble the newborns they become that they are regularly hung on refrigerators. The law should reflect this advancement.

They protect unborn children. Thanks to scientific advances like ultrasound, we know that babies have heartbeats by 6 weeks, and are fully formed at 12 weeks. At 15 weeks, unborn babies can move around and kick, sense and respond to physical stimulation, taste what mom eats, open and close their fingers, and hiccup. They can also likely sense pain—which is undoubtedly what an abortion inflicts when it requires the unborn baby to be sucked out, crushed, or torn apart. Abortion is a cruel and barbaric procedure that has no place in a civilized society.

They advance women’s physical and emotional health and well-being. Women deserve to know the whole truth about abortion. Limits on abortion ensure women are not put at the greater risk of death, illness, or psychological trauma that abortions cause. For example, in abortions performed after 15 weeks, women face a higher risk of needing a hysterectomy, other reparative surgery, or a blood transfusion. The risk of a woman dying due to an abortion also increases. And abortions can cause severe emotional and psychological trauma. The choice for life is an informed choice. A woman who knows the many dangerous risks of abortion, the reality of what the abortion will do to her child and to herself, and her options as a parent is far more likely to protect her child’s life. Women deserve real healthcare, not dangerous and unnecessary procedures.

They preserve the integrity of medical providers. With the overturning of Roe and Casey, medical professionals are better able to uphold their Hippocratic oath to protect life rather than destroy it.

Won’t overturning Roe lead to unsafe, back-alley abortions?

Abortion is never safe. It kills a child and harms the mother. Surveys show that most women who get an abortion would prefer to parent, but they don’t feel they have the resources to do so. They choose abortion as a last resort. We need to find real solutions for women facing unexpected pregnancies – not the kind that pits women against their children to make a profit.


Additional Resources

Biographies

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Kristen K. Waggoner
Kristen K. Waggoner
CEO, President, and General Counsel
As the CEO, president, and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, Kristen Waggoner leads the faith-based legal organization in protecting fundamental freedoms and promoting the inherent dignity of all people throughout the U.S. and around the world.
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Denise Harle
Denise Harle
Senior Counsel, Director of Center for Life
Denise Harle serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is the director of the Center for Life.
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Erin Morrow Hawley
Erin Morrow Hawley
Senior Counsel
Erin Morrow Hawley serves as senior counsel to the appellate team at Alliance Defending Freedom.