With a series of so-called “trigger laws” on the books in 21 states and elected officials hostile to abortion in charge of five more, half the country stands to lose access to abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade—the landmark 1973 decision that enshrined the right to abortion before fetal viability. And, during oral arguments in a case over a Mississippi law that flies in the face of that right, it appeared some justices were willing to do just that, say two Northeastern law professors.
Justices heard arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Wednesday, a case over a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks. If it’s upheld, the law would cut down the window for people in Mississippi, and soon thereafter across the country, to have legal abortions by more than two months.
Of course, it’s not a foregone conclusion that the court will throw out Roe, says Martha Davis, university distinguished professor of law at Northeastern, and one of more than 40 researchers, lawyers, and health professionals who have submitted an amicus brief asking the court to strike down the Mississippi law. There are a few ways this could play out.