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Optimism after Supreme Court justices voice skepticism of abortion rights in Constitution

Pro-life leaders are cautiously optimistic after oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday in a case that could lead to the reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision. Several justices were skeptical that the Constitution includes a right to abortion.

Even news outlets such as the New York Times are reporting favorably on the court upholding a pro-life law.

The Supreme Court seemed poised on Wednesday to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, in what would be a momentous and polarizing decision to roll back the abortion rights the court has defined over the last half-century.

“During sometimes tense and heated questioning in almost two hours of oral arguments, the court’s six conservative justices signaled they are comfortable with the Mississippi law, even though upholding it would be flatly at odds with Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion and prohibited states from banning the procedure before fetal viability, currently around 23 weeks,” the Times reports on Thursday.

Justice Clarence Thomas questioned where in the Constitution the abortion procedure is protected. The question matters because the Roe v. Wade ruling made abortion a national right. If overturned, abortion would not be banned nationally but, rather, would return that decision to the states who already currently regulate it for health and safety.

“Would you specifically tell me, specifically state what the right is, is it specifically abortion?” he asked an attorney representing the Mississippi abortion facility. “Is it a liberty? Is it liberty? Is it autonomy? Is it privacy?”

Thomas pressed further, knowing the lawyer could not cite anything in the Constitution protecting a so-called right to end pregnancies.

“I understand we’re talking about abortion here,” Thomas said. “But what is confusing is that we, if we were talking about the Second Amendment, I know exactly what we’re talking about. If we’re talking about the Fourth Amendment. I know what we’re talking about because it’s written there. What specifically is the right here that we’re talking about?”

The newest justice, Amy Coney Barrett, questioned the notion that women need to abort their unborn babies to succeed in life. She asked pro-abortion lawyers about “the burdens of parenting” presented in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey as reasons for the so-called right to abortion. She brought up safe-haven laws, which allow mothers to relinquish their newborns to authorities without fear of repercussions, as an alternative to abortion and the burdens of motherhood.

“In all 50 states, you can terminate parental rights by relinquishing a child after birth,” Barrett told lawyers representing the Mississippi abortion facility Jackson Women’s Health. “Why don’t you address the safe-haven laws and why don’t they matter?”

Although Barrett acknowledged that pregnancy itself can be viewed as a burden, she added, “It seems to me that the choice for focus would be between, say, the ability to get an abortion at 23 weeks or the state requiring the woman to go 15, 16 weeks more and then terminate parental rights at the conclusion.”

A ruling in the case is not expected until spring. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, each state will determine its own abortion policy.

Scott Stewart, arguing for Mississippi, said the Roe and Casey rulings “haunt our country.”

“They have no basis in the Constitution. They have no home in our history or traditions. They’ve damaged the democratic process. They’ve poisoned the law. They’ve choked off compromise,” Stewart said.

Mississippi is among 12 states with so-called trigger laws designed to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Additional states likely would rapidly curtail abortion access.

The United States, China, and North Korea, according to the Washington Post, are among just seven of 198 nations that allow elective abortions (abortion for any reason) after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The others are Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Vietnam.

–Alan Goforth | MetroVoiceNews.com

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