TAMPA, Fla. — “Whatever the court decides, in this case, will have implications for all 50 states,” said Dr. J. Edwin Benton, University of South Florida Professor of Political Science.
The United States Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments on Wednesday on an abortion case from Mississippi where a law would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
“What the court is now looking at is it’s really cut and dry,” said Benton.
The Supreme Court has never allowed states to ban abortion before about 24 weeks when a fetus can survive outside the womb.
The 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision gave women nationwide the right to end a pregnancy.
“What Roe v. Wade said was that a physician, a clinic or hospital cannot be barred from performing an abortion if they want to,” said Benton.
Now Roe v. Wade is facing its most serious challenge in decades with this case from Mississippi, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Clinic.
“Either they’re going to uphold Roe v. Wade or they’re going to turn it aside as being null and void. So the stakes are very high,” said Benton.
Mississippi wants the Supreme Court to uphold its 15-week ban on abortion and overrule the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
The state also wants the highest court to overrule the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling which reaffirmed Roe.
This case could transform abortion rights across America.
“There’s a lot of back and forth in and among the court,” said Benton.
We have a very conservative Supreme Court with three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump who pledged to appoint justices he said would oppose abortion rights, making it a 6-3 conservative majority.
“Based upon those new members of the court, that it may be more likely than not that they will decide this case and it will be to reverse Roe v. Wade,” said Benton.
Whatever the court decides, experts say it’ll likely be a while before we have an answer.
“It’s not like a regular jury trial and both sides present their case and it goes to jury and you have to wait for the jury to decide. In terms of the Supreme Court, they can sit on it,” said Benton.
Experts say the Supreme Court’s decision isn’t expected until June before they recess for the summer.