By Dave Andrusko
NRL News Today continues our coverage of amicus briefs filed in defense of Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, a 2018 law that protects unborn babies over 15 weeks of age from abortion.
Earlier this week, NRL News Today offered “Five highlights from NRLC’s and Louisiana’s Right to Life’s brief to the Supreme Court in the Mississippi case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.”
As James Bopp, Jr., NRLC General Counsel said, “The amicus brief supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade and provides a legal framework that will lead directly to achieving that goal.” Counsel.
Today we’ll discuss an amicus brief filed yesterday by the Mississippi congressional delegation and the House Pro-Life Caucus who are leading more than 200 members of Congress in defending HB 10. Here are several key arguments:
#1. “Some federal courts have interpreted Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992) as creating a bright-line rule that forbids lawmakers from restricting previability abortions in any way, regardless of the strength of the interests at stake.” But the Court has already carved out an exception—“the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Act this Court upheld in Gonzales v. Carhart without regard for the viability line.”
#2. These protective laws have strong support. “The second-trimester regulation embodied in Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act is strongly supported by the American public. ”
#3. This case affords the court the opportunity to get out the corner into which it has painted itself. As Mississippi Attorney General Fitch said in her amicus brief, “Abortion jurisprudence has placed this Court at the center of a controversy that it can never resolve.”
Likewise, today’s amicus brief argues that Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization “provides the Court a chance to release its vise grip on abortion politics, as Congress and the States have shown that they are ready and able to address the issue in ways that reflect Americans’ varying viewpoints and are grounded in the science of fetal development and maternal health.” Speaking of which…
#4. As the Supreme Court has long recognized, the states have a “legitimate interest” not only in protecting unborn life but also in protecting “the integrity and ethics of the medical profession,” as the justices concluded in the unanimous 1997 Washington v. Glucksberg decision. State legislatures, the brief maintains, “have expressed the desire to protect life through a burgeoning number of laws enacted to further the States’ important interests in protecting women from dangerous late-term abortion, ending the destruction of human life based on sexism, racism, or ableism, upholding the integrity of the medical profession against the barbaric practice of dismembering human beings in the womb, and protecting preborn infants from the horrific pain of such abortions.” And
#5. “It is long overdue for this Court to return lawmaking to legislators.” The amicus then quotes from a dissent written by Justice Scalia in a 1988 Supreme Court case:
“The most reliable objective signs [of societal views] consist of the legislation that the society has enacted. It will rarely if ever be the case that the Members of this Court will have a better sense of the evolution in views of the American people than do their elected representatives.”