WLBT-TV Jackson

SCOTUS reignites national debate in decision to take up Miss. abortion ban challenge

By Anthony Warren

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement Monday that it would hear a case challenging Mississippi’s anti-abortion law has re-sparked a national debate about reproductive rights, one that stretches all the way up to the president of the United States.

Monday, state and federal leaders, as well as community activists, took to social media and other platforms to comment on the SCOTUS decision to take up Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Thomas Dobbs, a case that challenges nearly 50 years of court precedent regarding abortion.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Rep. Michael Guest and Gov. Tate Reeves, all Republicans, have applauded the court’s decision, while the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights have decried it.

CNBC reports that Jen Psaki, press secretary for President Joe Biden, wouldn’t comment specifically on the decision, but reaffirmed Biden’s stance on protecting access to abortion.

“The president and the vice president are devoted to ensuring that every American has access to health care, including reproductive health care, regardless of their income, ZIP code, race, health insurance status or immigration status,” she told reporters Monday.

Meanwhile, Gov. Tate Reeves gives a nod to former President Donald Trump for appointing three justices to the nation’s highest court. However, he said the court is taking up the matter because of advancements in science.

“We know and can detect when the heartbeat begins. We know the rate at which the brain develops. We know when the lungs have their main airways and when babies begin to practice breathing,” he wrote. “This case is being heard not because the court has changed, but because the science has changed.”

Agricultural Commissioner Andy Gibson was also pleased with the news Gibson was one of a host of authors that signed on to H.B. 1510, the 2018 legislation that banned most abortions after 15 weeks. “States do have a compelling interest in protecting the lives of the unborn and of women, and this bill does just that.”

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said today’s decision gives the court a chance to reverse Roe v. Wade and other decisions that have “sadly led to abortion on demand being the near norm in this country.

“I am heartened by today’s news that SCOTUS will consider Mississippi’s efforts to protect unborn children,” she said.

Guest also backed up Hyde-Smith’s sentiments, saying he supports the Mississippi law that “protect(s) the right to life of our unborn children.”

The ACLU of Mississippi, though, said that if the court upholds Mississippi’s law it will lead to an “outright abortion ban in our state.”

“Legislators held zero public hearings and heard from zero healthcare experts about the 15-week abortion ban, because restricting a person’s healthcare and rights was a political decision,” the agency wrote.

The bill, known as the Gestational Age Act, passed overwhelmingly in both the House and the Senate, with the House approving an amended version from the Senate on a vote of 76 to 34, according to the Legislature’s website. It was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant.

Planned Parenthood tweeted on the court’s decision as well, pointing out that the Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the last abortion provider in the Magnolia State. “Independent providers are essential in their communities and we all need doors to stay open as the fight to protect and expand access to abortion across the country continues.”