The justices are set to hear arguments in the case during the upcoming term and will consider the state’s request to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Rikelman is representing Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only licensed abortion facility in Mississippi, and the clinic’s medical director, Sacheen Carr-Ellis. In the new brief she told the justices that if they were to uphold the state ban the “fallout would be swift and certain.”
“As abortion bans are enforced — or the threat of enforcement looms — large swaths of the South and Midwest would likely be without access to legal abortion,” she said.
“This is a tense, strange moment for reproductive freedom at the Supreme Court,” said lawyer Joshua Matz at Kaplan Hecker & Fink.
“On the one hand, the Court issued an order two weeks ago that disclaimed any ruling on abortion rights but effectively overturned Roe v. Wade in Texas,” Matz said. “On the other hand, the Court is even now considering a major case that asks them to completely overrule Roe, or to at least eviscerate most of its protections.”
Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, passed in 2018 but blocked by two federal courts, allows abortion after 15 weeks “only in medical emergencies or for severe fetal abnormality” and has no exception for rape or incest. If doctors perform abortions outside the parameters of the law, they will have their medical licenses suspended or revoked and may be subject to additional penalties and fines.
Mississippi’s attorney general, in a brief filed in July, argued that Roe v. Wade was “egregiously wrong” and should be overturned .
Fitch said the case for overruling Roe is “overwhelming.”
The justices deliberated for months whether to take up the Mississippi dispute, finally announcing their decision last spring and sending shock waves through groups supporting abortion rights, who are fearful that the conservative majority — bolstered with three of President Donald Trump’s appointees — will upend long-established constitutional protections for access to abortion.
A district court blocked the law in a decision affirmed by a federal appeals court.