SCOTUS

The United States Supreme Court Building in Washington

Kwame Raoul has signed onto an amicus brief with 23 other state attorneys general arguing that the United States Supreme Court should uphold abortion rights through the tenets of Roe v. Wade, and Sen. Robert Peters (D-13th) and Rep. Kam Buckner (D-26th) have done the same with nearly 900 other state legislators from across the nation.

The court has agreed to hear the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, on Dec. 1, regarding the question, "Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional."

In March 2018, then-Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law a bill prohibiting abortion at 15 weeks, including excemptions for medical emergencies or fetal abnormalities but not rape or incest.

Federal and appeals courts have struck down the law, in light of Supreme Court precedent. Raoul and the other attorneys general argue that the Mississippi law in unconstitutional under that precedent and that the Supreme Court should not overturn that precedent, as doing so would cause pregnant people to travel to other states to seek care, burdening other states' medical systems and jeopardizing individuals' health.

“Mississippi’s efforts to restrict access to safe and legal abortion jeopardize the short- and long-term health of women who need abortion care and denies them the right to control their health care,” Raoul said in a statement. “The Supreme Court should uphold decades of its own precedent affirming that women have the right to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term before viability. I will continue opposing actions that interfere with a woman’s ability to make her own reproductive decisions.”

The state legislators present three arguments beyond precedent: that overturning previous pro-abortion rights cases "will embolden state legislatures to further engage in symbolic politics at the expense of real priorities," that pre-viability (i.e., 15-week) bans would burden the abortion access in states that protect abortion rights (an argument reminiscent of the attorneys' general) and that an anti-abortion rights ruling "will be disastrous for women seeking abortion and their families."

“Even though access to abortion is protected here in Illinois, seeing what’s happening in Mississippi and Texas is frightening,” said Peters in a statement. “It’s a direct threat to low income and people of color, to their health, and to their freedom of choice. If the Supreme Court does not uphold Roe v. Wade, it will not only hurt women and families across this country, but it will also set a dangerous precedent for how our rights can be rolled back by a more overt right wing court.”

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