The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could have a significant impact on states’ abortion laws, and pose a challenge to the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized the practice nationwide.
In their term that begins in October, the High Court will consider whether Mississippi can ban abortions before an unborn baby is viable. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a law in 2018 to ban most abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation. In 2019, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the law. The Supreme Court has granted certiorari, agreeing to review a lower court decision in the case.
Pro-life advocates cheered the decision. Elizabeth Graham of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) said it could be a “generationally significant” case. “All Americans of goodwill want the state to protect their neighbors from harm, and yet, just as Jesus told us, we will argue among ourselves about who really counts as our neighbor,” said Graham, the ERLC’s vice president of operations and life initiatives.
“The question our nation must wrestle with is whether or not a child in the womb is, indeed, a preborn child and, therefore, our neighbor. As Christians, knowing the answer is not a reason to feel moral superiority, but to lament the abortion industry’s legal lies and to work to undo them. This case could be instrumental toward that end.”
Following the Supreme Court’s order, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker expressed his disagreement with the decision and referenced his state’s Reproductive Health Act passed in 2019 “to enshrine reproductive rights into law.”
“No matter what happens on the federal level, the Reproductive Health Act protects Illinois women and their fundamental right to make their own healthcare decisions,” Pritzker said in a Facebook post. “And we will stand strong with women across the country and continue to fight with you for your right to choose.”
Amy Gehrke, executive director of Illinois Right to Life, encouraged “cautious optimism” for pro-life advocates. “Over the coming months we will be promoting the case for life in hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court will make Roe v. Wade nothing but a terrible memory,” she said.
“Sadly, here in Illinois, the 2019 Reproductive Health Act eliminated our state’s ban on abortion. Our work to educate the people of Illinois and win our state back for life will continue.”
–With info from The Christian Post, Baptist Press, Illinois Right to Life