Abortion rights put into question in the United States

Abortion has long been the center of controversy in the US but with Texas and Mississippi taking matters into their own hands, what will this mean for the women who live there?

The Roberts Court, April 23, 2021 Seated from left to right: Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor Standing from left to right: Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett. Photograph by Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

By Ella Erez and Frida Gerhardt – 7th grade.

Mississippi

In December 2021, Mississippi set a law that is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the original United States abortion decision (1973) which keeps all abortion legal, for all women. The law in Mississippi banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which is equal to about 3 months, almost 2 weeks before Roe v. Wade originally allowed. The declaration was actually first enacted in 2018 by the mostly Republican Mississippi legislature, but was not put into effect because of legal issues that blocked its enforcement. Right now in Mississippi there is only one abortion clinic left, who have the front row seats for fighting this new law. The doctors and nurses are giving proof to the court that fetal viability is nearly impossible at just 15 weeks. 

Texas

On September 1 2021, the controversial Texas Abortion Law was put into effect halting all abortions after 7 weeks. To quote Republican Governor Greg Abbot, the law, “ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.” Not only does the law ban abortions but it also provides high incentives for individuals report abortions. Any successful lawsuit will be awarded with the hefty sum of $10,000, to be paid by the defendant. This will increase the stakes of going to court. And encourages policing of abortions, making them more risky. To quote Lisa Soronen, Executive Director at State and Local Legal Center, ”The [Supreme Court] justices know that this Texas law violates Roe v. Wade. Keeping the law in place doesn’t overturn Roe, but it does make a really big statement about what they think of it.” The mostly conservative supreme court, ruled that despite the law being upheld, the legal challenge against it will proceed.

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