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Anti-abortion groups gear up for Supreme Court battle as Dobbs v. Jackson comes to forefront

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 9/27/2021 Cassidy Morrison
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The anti-abortion movement is looking beyond the battle over the controversial six-week ban on the procedure in Texas, setting its sights on a Supreme Court case with the potential to be one of the most significant abortion rulings of this generation.

The case in question, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, will consider whether states can ban abortion before viability, the point at which survival is possible outside the womb, estimated to be between 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

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“The whole pro-life movement and pro-life Democrats are really excited for a broader societal conversation about this, which Dobbs will invite,” said John Quinn, a business operations assistant at Democrats for Life of America.

The case comes from a blocked 2018 Mississippi law banning procedures after 15 weeks, which abortion rights proponents argued blatantly violated the “viability” standard handed down with the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision. In that case, the Supreme Court held it to be unconstitutional for a state to ban abortions before the point of viability, as well as place an “undue burden” in the path of a woman seeking an abortion.

Democrats in Congress have railed against the Texas law’s vigilante enforcement mechanism that gives any citizen in any state the right to sue someone in Texas who is found to have aided and abetted the abortion, such as an Uber driver delivering the patient to the provider. Civil suits against an abortion provider who openly defied the law have been filed, though the plaintiffs in the cases come from different states and have questionable motives for suing. Indeed, the Texas Right to Life group, which helped the state legislature draft the law, called the suits “self-serving legal stunts.”

The Supreme Court declined to rule on the Texas law’s constitutionality when it was enacted on Sept. 1, allowing it to remain in place for now. The Justice Department has also sued Texas over the law in a case that will be heard in federal court on Friday.

“We don't know what the judges and the courts are going to do, whether this will be immediately enjoined after the [Friday] hearing … who knows what's going to happen? So, we're kind of in a wait-and-see what happens to this,” said Carol Tobias, the president of the National Right to Life Committee.

As the battle over the Texas law heats up, the House, which has a Democratic majority, passed the Women’s Health Protection Act mainly along party lines Friday. The act would create a statutory right to abortions and enshrine into law healthcare providers' ability to offer abortion services without having to overcome burdensome state laws such as mandatory waiting periods or hospital admitting privileges. Anti-abortion advocates, such as Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, have painted the bill as a purely political move pushed by liberals in response to the Texas law, “not a sincere desire to promote women's health.”

Dannenfelser touted the “new pro-life bills getting passed out of legislatures all over the country with new hope because of the Dobbs decision next year.”

She added: “We hope, and many legislators are counting on, after that Supreme Court decision is passed down, having the shackles taken off their ability to express the will of their citizens in the law.”

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Oral arguments in Dobbs will begin on Dec. 1, with a decision likely by June 2022, positioning the issue at the forefront of the minds of voters going to the polls in November for the midterm elections. The conservative anti-abortion movement stands to lose the most in the event of a disappointing ruling in the Dobbs case because “they've invested so much in the court and had so many votes for congressional and presidential candidates,” Quinn at DFLA told the Washington Examiner.

“If they lose, it's going to be a really existential question for them, like, why did this decadeslong strategy that they kept thinking was going to work, kept not working?” Quinn said. “When you have a 6-3 majority [in the court], if it doesn't work, that's pretty devastating. So, I think they're a bit more anxious than we are and understandably so.”

 

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Tags: News, Healthcare, Abortion, Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, Planned Parenthood, Law, Susan B. Anthony List, 2022 Elections

Original Author: Cassidy Morrison

Original Location: Anti-abortion groups gear up for Supreme Court battle as Dobbs v. Jackson comes to forefront

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