By Lisa Bourne
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch filed a reply brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dobbs case Wednesday, emphasizing the need to overturn Roe v. Wade and its companion Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Fitch also argued in the brief that abortion policymaking is “for the people to decide.”
“Finally forced to defend those cases, respondents drive home the stark reality: Roe and Casey are indefensible,” Fitch writes in the brief. “Respondents do not claim that constitutional text or structure establishes a right to abortion. And they do not seriously argue that Roe and Casey are correct as an original matter. Their defense of Casey is to repeat its reasoning.”
The Supreme Court granted review in May in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that challenges the constitutionality of a Mississippi law that bans abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
Mississippi’s “Gestational Age Act” allows exceptions in cases of “medical emergency and in cases of severe fetal abnormality.”
Nearly 80 amicus briefs were filed in July in support of the law.
Heartbeat, the largest network of pregnancy help organizations in the world, argued that Roe and Casey should be overturned because the prevalence of pregnancy help organizations makes the legal precedent of those cases moot, and argued as well that the idea that women must choose between their life and the life of their unborn child is obsolete, considering the extensive support provided by the pregnancy help community.
The 1973 Roe decision established a right to abortion in the U.S. throughout pregnancy, and the 1992 Casey ruling purported to uphold the Roe decision.
The two decisions hold that the Constitution protects a right to abortion before an unborn child becomes viable. Fetal viability, the ability of the child to survive outside the womb with medical support, was previously understood to be 24 or more weeks but has become earlier and earlier in pregnancy with technological advancements. The standard is viewed by pro-life advocates as highly subjective and preferential toward the abortion industry.
In addition to the idea that women must sacrifice their unborn children’s lives to participate in society being outdated due to available pregnancy help, Heartbeat argued in the brief that changing social mores, such as the idea of children being born out of wedlock, adoption and safe haven laws also contribute to rendering Roe and Casey archaic, and also that advances in technology have shed light on the humanity of the unborn.
Fitch, Mississippi’s first female attorney general, also submitted a brief in July arguing that Roe and Casey should be overturned and that the state could prevent elective abortions before viability because “nothing in constitutional text, structure, history, or tradition supports a right to abortion.”
The Mississippi AG argues in the Oct. 13 reply brief that abortion policymaking should be returned to the states.
“Not treating abortion as a fundamental right treats it as the Constitution does most important issues: for the people to decide,” Fitch writes. “When this Court returns this issue to the people, the people can debate, adapt, and find workable solutions. It will be hard for the people too, but under the Constitution the task is theirs—and the Court should return it to them now.”
Fitch argues as well that progress over decades in policy, society, and science further accentuate the need to overturn Roe and return policy making to the legislative entities that can adequately respond to these advancements.
Respondents “do not dispute (for example) that more women than men now enroll in law school and medical school, that women’s college enrollment has continued to climb, or that record numbers of women serve in state legislatures and Congress,” Fitch says. “Nor do respondents contest that laws enacted since Roe facilitate the ability of women to pursue both career success and a rich family life.”
Respondents’ claim, “boils down to the view that millions of women have a meaningful life only because 50 years ago seven men in Roe saved them from despair—and that women’s success comes at the cost of ending innumerable human lives,” Fitch continues. “That is the debased view that Roe and Casey have produced. It is time to get rid of them.”
The Charlotte Lozier Institute released a report last month detailing the development of a fetus at 15 weeks.
According to the 15 Facts at 15 Weeks report:
- All of the major organs have formed.
- The heart pumps 26 quarts of blood per day.
- The heart has already beat approximately 15,800,000 times.
- Each finger moves separately.
- The fetus prefers sucking his left or right thumb.
- The entire body responds to touch.
- The fetus responds to taste.
- The brain creates neurons at a rate of 250,000 per minute.
- Brain connections formed at 15 weeks’ gestation last into adulthood.
- The fetus can feel pain.
- Females have most of the eggs that they will ever produce.
- The fetus has practiced breathing for over six weeks.
- Eye movements are easily seen in ultrasound recordings.
- If a doctor took an X-ray this week, the fetus’s skeleton would be visible.
- Surgeons have successfully performed surgery on fetuses at 15 weeks’ gestation.
The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization December 1.
Fitch is planning a rally at the Court that day.
Editor’s note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News where this first appeared. Reposted with permission.