Three stories provide depth, insight, and different vantage points on upcoming Supreme Court case and state abortion laws

By Dave Andrusko

Three articles appeared over the last two days, focusing on or using as a springboard the upcoming oral arguments before the Supreme Court in which Mississippi will defend its Gestational Age Act from attack by the state’s only abortion clinic. As our readers know, at issue in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a 2018 law that prohibits abortion after the 15th week with very few exceptions.

One article is written by National Review Online’s Alexandra DeSanctis. It’s a solid piece of reporting on the background of Dobbs.

For example, she reminds us that Mississippi asked the justices to consider three questions. The Supreme Court chose to address one: “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”

Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s amicus brief, which we discussed several times, is brilliant. “It is backed by 80 pro-life amicus briefs,” DeSanctis writes, “nearly all of which insist that the justices must confront and undo the last five decades of unworkable jurisprudence created by Roe and extended by Casey, and a handful of which go even farther, arguing that unborn children are protected as ‘persons’ under the Fourteenth Amendment, and that all legal abortion is thus unconstitutional.”

Another story, from the pro-abortion-and-then-some Washington Post, goes on and on. It is, to put it mildly, a highly sympathetic portrait of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization,  “The Mississippi clinic at the center of the fight to end abortion in America.”

The story is also an overview of how pro-lifers have “chipped away” at the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, complete with many photos and an interesting graphic showing “When in pregnancy states have tried to ban abortion.”

The third story, “Abortion Stays in the Spotlight in Courts, State Legislatures: Supreme Court set to hear case challenging Roe v. Wade,” is written by Joyce Frieden, the Washington Editor of MedPage Today. After discussing Dobbs, Frieden pays a lot of attention (as the headline suggests) to pro-life action in the states. 

She wisely interviewed Ingrid Duran,  NRLC Director of State Legislation. Duran told Frieden that “While no one can predict how the court will rule [in Dobbs], I feel hopeful because people are finally unlearning the radical acceptance of abortion-on-demand policies. We are all learning more and more about the developing unborn baby.”

Frieden interviewed the other side as well— Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute of Reproductive Health—who naturally characterized every measure intended to protect unborn babies and their mothers as “extreme.”

Friedan wrote

In addition to the Supreme Court case, states also have been enacting other laws related to abortion. “Over the last several years, since probably 2019, we’ve seen a real wave of more and more extreme abortion laws passing in a number of conservative states,” said Miller. “Those have included bans on abortion outright, bans on abortion at 6 weeks of pregnancy, which is effectively a ban outright … These are on top of a whole host of other restrictions many of these same states already put in place, from forced delays to preventing coverage for abortion care in public or private insurance, to creating extreme barriers for healthcare facilities in terms of adding medically unjustified regulations to how they’re supposed to operate.”

NRLC’s Duran countered by saying of the new laws on abortion

“there are many different pro-life trends that aim to protect unborn children and their mothers from the risks associated from abortion,” including laws requiring that women getting a medication abortion be given information on reversing the procedure, laws regulating the use of medication abortions, laws protecting unborn children seen as capable of feeling pain, and constitutional amendments against abortion.