Although Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the U.S. Supreme Court case on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion restriction, has made waves as the landmark case that could overturn Roe v. Wade, it isn’t the only abortion-related case that may be heard this year.
The Supreme Court is slated to hear several abortion-related cases, including several before the year ends.
In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s only licensed abortion business is challenging the constitutionality of a law that restricts abortion after 15 weeks gestation. The law notes the increased physical risks to the mother as the gestational age of the preborn child increases, and notes that D&E abortion is typically used in the second trimester — a cruel and inhumane dismemberment procedure that involves tearing off the limbs of the preborn child, crushing the skull, and piecing the body parts back together to ensure everything was removed.
There is hope that the conservative-majority Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.
Ellie Rushforth, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, said in a New Mexico Political Report interview that the court is likely to hear oral arguments close to December. A decision is expected in 2022.
In Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center, P.S.C., the Supreme Court will decide whether Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron may intervene to defend a state law banning D&E abortion procedures. EMW Women’s Surgical Center, the only licensed outpatient abortion facility in Kentucky, challenged the constitutionality of the law in U.S. district court, which ruled in the abortion facility’s favor.
On appeal, the attorney general asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit if he could join the case to defend the law. The court rejected the request, and affirmed the district court’s ruling. He has appealed to the Supreme Court to allow him to relitigate the case. The court will hear oral arguments on October 12.
Dignity Health v. Minton involves a transgender man who sought a hysterectomy at Dignity Health, a Catholic hospital, but was denied on the basis of faith principles. The hospital does not commit abortions, sterilizations, or euthanasia because these procedures violate Catholic moral teaching. The Court of Appeals ruled that under California law, this can constitute illegal discrimination. Dignity Health is asking the Supreme Court to consider whether the hospital’s actions are protected under the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.
Although not abortion-related, the case raises an important question: If Catholic hospitals can be required to remove a healthy organ, thereby sterilizing a patient, can they also be compelled to commit abortion or euthanasia?
Schmitt v. Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, Inc. will be reviewed during the Supreme Court annual long conference on September 27, dealing with a law overturned by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The law would have restricted abortions after eight weeks, and in the case of a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis. The petition asks the Supreme Court to overturn lower court rulings that found the ban on discriminatory abortions unconstitutional.
With Rutledge v. Little Rock Family Planning Services, Arkansas is asking the Supreme Court to review an Eighth Circuit decision that held the Constitution guarantees a right to abort children for Down syndrome. In a press release, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge called the lower court rulings erroneous, and asked them to be overturned.
In Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany v. Lacewell, the dioceses of Albany and Ogdensburg in New York, along with several faith-based groups, are asking the Supreme Court to hear their case against New York’s abortion coverage mandate, which requires employers to cover abortions in their employee health insurance plans. They say the mandate violates their freedom of religion under the First Amendment.
Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Inc. involves a 2017 Indiana abortion law that would have required parental notification before undergoing an abortion. One of the questions involved in the case is whether parental notification laws in minor abortion cases should include exceptions for “mature minors.” The 7th Circuit ruled the law was unconstitutional, and the court of appeals will now reconsider this case, in light of June Medical Services v. Russo, which struck down a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to hold admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. A date for oral arguments has not been announced.
These cases serve as an important reminder that Americans are beginning to see preborn children as human beings worthy of protection under the law.
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