Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, paving way for state abortion bans – National & International News – FRI 24Jun2022
Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, paving way for state abortion bans. What it means for Mississippians. UN: Israeli forces, not Palestinian militants, killed journalist.
Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, paving way for state abortion bans
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court voted to uphold the 15-week abortion ban at the heart of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. In a narrower 5-4 decision (with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the three liberal justices), the court also voted to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. By overturning Roe and Casey, the court ruled that there is no constitutional right to an abortion. This means that states can legislate on this issue as they see fit. Over a dozen states, including Mississippi, have a “trigger law” that will automatically ban abortions in most cases after Roe‘s reversal.
Justice Roberts wrote in a concurring opinion that the court went too far in overturning Roe and Casey. Roberts said that the “decision to overrule Roe and Casey is a serious jolt to the legal system—regardless of how you view those cases” and characterized the ruling as “unsettling”.
More rights on the chopping block?
In fact, while many conservatives will see today’s ruling as a victory, Justice Thomas in his concurring opinion expressed a willingness to go even further. Roe was established in part on the principle that the 14th Amendment guarantees a right to privacy. In his opinion, Thomas pointed to other laws established on this principle as being ripe for repeal. Thomas wrote, “… in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’ … we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents…”.
Thomas refers here to Griswold v. Connecticut, Lawrence V. Texas, and Obergefell v. Hodge. Griswold established a right to purchase and use contraception without government control. Lawrence overturned laws criminalizing sodomy, targeting gay men for prosecution. Obergefell established the right for gay couples to marry.
Interestingly, Thomas did not mention Loving v. Virginia, which was decided on the same principle as Roe and the others. The Loving decision made it possible for mixed-race couples to marry. Thomas himself is in a mixed-race marriage.
What it means for Mississippians
As previously mentioned, Mississippi’s trigger law will ban nearly all abortions in the state. There are exceptions for victims of rape, where there is a formal charge. But there may be no place left in the state to obtain an abortion, making the exception moot. Mississippi’s law also has an exception for cases in which the mother’s life is in danger. Even this has its pitfalls. In Texas, where a 6-week abortion ban has been in effect since August, women suffering miscarriages have frequently been forced to travel out of state to obtain life-saving abortion care.
So how far will Mississippians have to go? Florida currently permits abortions up to 24 weeks, but a 15-week ban will take effect on July 1. Furthermore, Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis has vowed to expand the state’s restrictions on abortions following today’s Supreme Court ruling. The state’s Supreme Court has ruled that Florida’s privacy laws protect the right to an abortion. However, if this were overturned through legislative action, Florida could easily join other states in banning nearly all abortions.
Republican governors in other nearby states have signaled that they will seek to enact similar abortion bans to Mississippi’s. That could potentially leave either Granite City, Illinois, or Monterrey, Mexico (where abortion is legal up to 15 weeks), as the nearest place for Mississippians to obtain an abortion.
For now, there are online pharmacies that will deliver abortion pills to Mississippi from out-of-state. However, physicians do not recommend using these beyond 10 weeks of gestation.
Abortion laws by state (opens in new tab).
UN: Israeli forces, not Palestinian militants, killed journalist
A probe by UN human rights officials have concluded that it was an Israeli soldier who killed Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqla last month. Abu Aqla was reporting on an Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank. She was wearing a protective vest with the word “Press” on it as well as a helmet. Eyewitnesses have said it was Israeli soldiers who killed Abu Aqla and fired on and wounded other members of the press. Israel has denied this and blamed Palestinian militants. Witnesses have said there were no militants in the vicinity with the press group when the attack took place.
Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), stated that information from the Israeli military and the Palestinian attorney general indicated that “the shots that killed Abu Aqla and injured her colleague Ali Sammoudi came from Israeli security forces and not from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians, as initially claimed by Israeli authorities”. Shamdasani also said the bullets seemed to be “well-aimed”, implying that the soldiers had killed the journalist and wounded her colleagues intentionally.
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