President Joe Biden’s Justice Department is seeking to torpedo the Mississippi law that challenges Roe v. Wade when the case is heard later this year.
On Monday, the Justice Department filed briefs calling on the court to affirm that Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land and asking for permission to present oral arguments in support of killing the unborn when those begin on Dec. 1, according to The New York Times.
The briefs ask the court to give those arguing against the law extra time to present their arguments and to give the Justice Department 15 minutes of the total of 65 minutes to argue against the Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The brief asking for more time notes that Mississippi opposes the request to give its legal foes more time than the state when oral arguments are heard.
Mississippi passed its law to limit abortions in 2018. Jackson Women’s Health sued to stop the law, saying that under the Roe v. Wade framework, women have a right to abort their babies prior to viability. Judges have established that as around 24 weeks of pregnancy. The state lost lower court rulings but appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Justice Department has said the state was “unable to identify any medical research or data that showed a fetus had reached the ‘point of viability at 15 weeks.”
The briefs filed Monday also say that the court should uphold the principle that precedent should be respected, which in this case means Roe v. Wade will never be reversed.
In a legal brief seeking to have the court hear the case, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision needs to be overturned.
“On a sound understanding of the Constitution, the answer to the question presented in this case is clear and the path to that answer is straight. Under the Constitution, may a State prohibit elective abortions before viability? Yes. Why? Because nothing in constitutional text, structure, history, or tradition supports a right to abortion,” she wrote.
Should Roe v. Wade be overturned?
Fitch said in the document that the so-called right to abortion is “egregiously wrong. The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition. “
She further noted that “abortion is fundamentally different from any right this Court has ever endorsed. No other right involves, as abortion does, ‘the purposeful termination of a potential life.’”
Fitch wrote that court cases allowing abortion “have inflicted significant damage.”
Those decisions, the attorney general wrote, “are unprincipled decisions that have damaged the democratic process, poisoned our national discourse, plagued the law — and, in doing so, harmed this Court.”
The brief also noted that much has changed since the 1973 ruling.
Abortion policy has been tethered to 1973, but women, men and the workplace have all changed, facilitating our ability to have both a full family life and successful career. #EmpowerWomenPromoteLife Read more here: https://t.co/9MGWVqb9zo pic.twitter.com/szPpjVT2BL
— Lynn Fitch (@LynnFitchAG) September 19, 2021
“Today, adoption is accessible and on a wide scale women attain both professional success and a rich family life, contraceptives are more available and effective, and scientific advances show that an unborn child has taken on the human form and features months before viability,” Fitch wrote.
“States should be able to act on those developments,” she said.