About Dobbs v. Jackson
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the most important abortion case to come before the U.S. Supreme Court in more than a decade. Legal scholars on both sides of the abortion debate believe this could be the case that finally overturns Roe v. Wade.
The case concerns the Gestational Age Act, law enacted by Mississippi in 2018 that bans abortion after 15 weeks gestation, which would bring Mississippi law into conformity with the abortion laws of nearly every developed country. The law was challenged in federal court and has never been enforced in Mississippi.
In May 2021, the Supreme Court agreed to review the case, and in September set a December 1 hearing date. A final ruling in this case is expected in the spring of 2022. Three outcomes are possible:
- The Supreme Court could agree with the lower courts and strikes down Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act. This result is considered unlikely, because if this is what the court intended to do, it could have declined to hear the case, leaving the lower court injunction in place, blocking the law.
- The Supreme Court could uphold the Mississippi law in full or in part, without overturning Roe v. Wade. To do so, they would have to replace the legal reasoning of Roe v. Wade and the later Planned Parenthood v. Casey rulings with another foundation for legal abortion.
- The Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade, returning this issue to the states. Mississippi’s law would go into effect, and other states would be free to limit abortion more broadly than has been possible until now, possibly even banning it. Meanwhile, several states have already enacted laws keeping legal abortion intact in the event that Roe is overturned.
Find additional information about Dobbs v. Jackson here:
- Mississippi A.G. Lynn Fitch’s Dobbs information page
- Dobbs v. Jackson page at SCOTUS Blog
- “Roe will Go” by Prof. Robert P. George on First Things website
About Roe v. Wade
In the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 7-2 that the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects the rights to life, liberty and property, entailed a “right to privacy” that included the right for a woman to procure an abortion up until “the point at which the fetus becomes ‘viable’.”
Roe v. Wade effectively overturned all existing state laws against abortion. Roe v. Wade did allow for some limitations on when abortions could be obtained. However, these limitations were effectively nullified by the court’s decision in Roe’s companion case, Doe v. Bolton.
Roe v. Wade allows more abortion than you may realize.
When asked, many Americans will say they support Roe v. Wade, when what they really mean is that they support abortion in limited circumstances. They do not realize that Roe — with its companion case Doe v. Bolton, decided the same day — allows abortion for virtually any reason, at any point in pregnancy.
For example, pluralities or even majorities of Americans will say they oppose abortion being used as birth control, abortion for sex selection, abortion late in pregnancy, and aborting a disabled fetus. Yet limits on such abortions have been struck down by courts under Roe and Doe.
This puts the United States far outside the mainstream in the developed world, where abortion is typically limited to the first 12-16 weeks of pregnancy.
Over 62 million unborn human beings have lost their lives to legal abortion since Roe v. Wade.
Overturning Roe v. Wade would not make abortion illegal.
Many people believe that abortion would be banned in the United States if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. This is not so.
Instead, the issue of abortion would be returned to the states. The people of each state, acting through their elected representatives, would set their state’s abortion policy. In fact, some state legislatures have already enacted measures in anticipation of Roe being overturned.
Abortion would be completely unrestricted in some states, more limited in other states, and perhaps even banned for non-medical reasons in certain states. But whatever the policy, it would be enacted through the democratic process.
Overturning Roe v. Wade would make our national politics less toxic.
For far too long, our federal politics have been dominated by the abortion issue. Single-issue voters have been willing to tolerate candidates they might otherwise reject because of their support or opposition to legal abortion.
No issue has contributed more to the polarization of American politics than abortion. As a result, major issues like immigration, health care, and even infrastructure remain unresolved.
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade—making abortion a matter of state policy—the way will be open to solving these pressing national issues together. And that’s something that all Americans should celebrate.
OverturnRoe is a coalition of pro-life Americans devoted to restoring legal protection to unborn human beings. The coalition is led by three organizations: Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Created Equal, and the Pro-Life Action League.
OverturnRoe is organizing prayer vigils, rallies, and protests around the December 1 Supreme Court hearing date in the Dobbs v. Jackson case, including:
- Pledges to pray for the pro-life attorneys and Supreme Court justices in the weeks before the hearing
- Protests and vigils in Washington D.C. on November 30th and December 1st.
- Prayer rallies nationwide at federal courts and other government sites on December 1st.
- Displaying pro-life banners on highway overpasses across the country on December 1st.
We invite you to join us in this historic campaign to defend the lives of unborn children!