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Mississippi argues Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade

Mississippi argues Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade

JACKSON, Miss. — The U.S. Supreme Court should overturn its landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide and let states decide whether to regulate abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb, the office of Mississippi’s Republican attorney general argued in papers filed Thursday with the high court.“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,” Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch and four of her attorneys wrote in the brief.The arguments are a direct challenge to the central finding of the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and its 1992 decision in a Pennsylvania abortion case. Both rulings said states may not put an undue burden on abortion before viability. The Mississippi attorneys argue that the rulings are “egregiously wrong.”The Mississippi case is the first big abortion-rights test in a Supreme Court reshaped with three conservative justices nominated by former President Donald Trump.A 6-3 conservative majority, with the three Trump nominees, said in May that the court would consider arguments over a Mississippi law that would ban abortion at 15 weeks. Justices are likely to hear the case this fall and could rule on it in the spring.Nancy Northup is president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is defending Mississippi’s only abortion clinic in its challenge of the 15-week ban. She said Thursday that half of the states are poised to ban abortion altogether if Roe v. Wade is overturned.“Today’s brief reveals the extreme and regressive strategy, not just of this law, but of the avalanche of abortion bans and restrictions that are being passed across the country,” Northup said in a statement. “Their goal is for the Supreme Court to take away our right to control our own bodies and our own futures — not just in Mississippi, but everywhere.”Republican lawmakers in several states have been pushing laws designed to challenge Roe v. Wade, including bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks.. A federal district judge on Tuesday blocked an Arkansas law that would ban most abortions, ruling that the law is “categorically unconstitutional” because it would ban the procedure before the fetus is considered viable.The Mississippi 15-week law was enacted in 2018, but was blocked after a federal court challenge. The state’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, remains open and offers abortions up to 16 weeks of pregnancy. Clinic director Shannon Brewer has said about 10% of its abortions there are done after the 15th week.More than 90% of abortions in the U.S. take place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The Mississippi clinic has presented evidence that viability is impossible at 15 weeks, and an appeals court said that the state “conceded that it had identified no medical evidence that a fetus would be viable at 15 weeks.” Viability occurs roughly at 24 weeks, the point at which babies are more likely to survive.Mississippi argues that viability is an arbitrary standard that doesn’t take sufficient account of the state’s interest in regulating abortion.The Mississippi law would allow exceptions to the 15-week ban in cases of medical emergency or severe fetal abnormality. Doctors found in violation of the ban would face mandatory suspension or revocation of their medical license.“That law rationally furthers valid interests in protecting unborn life, women’s health, and the medical profession’s integrity. It is therefore constitutional,” the Mississippi attorney general’s office wrote in its Thursday filing.The attorney who will make Mississippi’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court is the state solicitor general, Scott G. Stewart, a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas.Also in the filing Thursday, the Mississippi attorneys wrote that if the Supreme Court does not overturn the standard that abortion restrictions should face heightened-scrutiny, the court “should at minimum hold that there is no pre-viability barrier to state prohibitions on abortion and uphold Mississippi’s law.”The Mississippi attorneys wrote that circumstances for women have changed since the 1973 and 1992 Supreme Court rulings.“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,” the Mississippi attorneys wrote. “States should be able to act on those developments.”———Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus.

Mississippi to file arguments in landmark abortion case

Mississippi to file arguments in landmark abortion case

The Mississippi attorney general’s office is expected to file briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court to outline the state’s arguments in a case that could affect abortion rights nationwideBy EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS Associated PressJuly 22, 2021, 5:10 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleJACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi attorney general’s office is expected to file briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to outline the state’s arguments in a case that could upend nearly 50 years of court rulings on abortion rights nationwide.A 6-3 conservative majority, with three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump, said in May that the court would consider arguments over a Mississippi law that would ban abortion at 15 weeks. Justices are likely to hear the case this fall and could rule on it in the spring.The case challenges rulings that have prohibited states from restricting abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb.Abortion rights supporters have said that if justices uphold the Mississippi law, that could clear the way for states to enact more restrictions on the procedure, including bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks.The Mississippi 15-week law was enacted in 2018, but was blocked after a federal court challenge. The state’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, remains open and offers abortions up to 16 weeks of pregnancy. Clinic director Shannon Brewer has said about 10% of its abortions there are done after the 15th week.More than 90% of abortions in the U.S. take place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The Mississippi clinic has presented evidence that viability is impossible at 15 weeks, and an appeals court said that the state “conceded that it had identified no medical evidence that a fetus would be viable at 15 weeks.” Viability occurs roughly at 24 weeks, the point at which babies are more likely to survive.But the state has argued that viability is an arbitrary standard that doesn’t take sufficient account of the state’s interest in regulating abortion.The Mississippi law would allow exceptions to the 15-week ban in cases of medical emergency or severe fetal abnormality. Doctors found in violation of the ban would face mandatory suspension or revocation of their medical license.Republican lawmakers in several states have been pushing laws designed to challenge Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. A federal district judge on Tuesday blocked an Arkansas law that would ban most abortions, ruling that the law is “categorically unconstitutional” because it would ban the procedure before the fetus is considered viable.

Mississippi marker honors 2 Black men killed by Klan in 1964

Mississippi marker honors 2 Black men killed by Klan in 1964

A new Mississippi historical marker honors two young Black men who were kidnapped and killed by Ku Klux Klansmen 57 years agoBy EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS Associated PressJuly 16, 2021, 12:23 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleMEADVILLE, Miss. — Friends and relatives gathered Thursday in a tiny town in southwestern Mississippi to dedicate a new state historical marker honoring two young Black men who were kidnapped and killed by Ku Klux Klansmen 57 years ago.Investigators found the remains of college student Charles Eddie Moore and lumber mill worker Henry Hezekiah Dee in a backwater of the Mississippi River in July 1964. It happened as officers were searching for three civil rights workers who had disappeared from central Mississippi the previous month.Military veteran Thomas Moore, 78, said Thursday that the new marker helps ensure his brother and their friend and high school classmate, Dee, will be remembered and that they won’t just be footnotes in the history of what the FBI called the “Mississippi Burning” case — the Klan killings of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman.Moore, who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, told people Thursday under the hot summer sun in Meadville that while “Black Lives Matter” is a theme now, “they mattered back then, too.”James Ford Seale and Charles Marcus Edwards briefly faced state murder charges in the deaths of Dee and Charles Eddie Moore in 1964, but the charges were dismissed because local law enforcement officers were in collusion with the Klan, federal prosecutors said in 2007.Prosecutors said Seale was with a group of Klansmen in May 1964 when they abducted the two 19-year-olds from a rural stretch of highway, took them into the woods and beat and interrogated them about rumors that Black people in the area were planning an armed uprising. The victims were thrown in the trunk of a car, driven across the Mississippi River into Louisiana and then were weighted down and dumped into the water while still alive.Many people thought Seale was dead until 2005, when Thomas Moore and a Canadian broadcaster, David Ridgen, found him found living in a town near where the teens were kidnapped. Federal authorities opened a case, and Edwards became the government’s star witness after he was promised immunity from prosecution. When jurors were out of the courtroom one day during Seale’s 2007 trial, Edwards apologized to the victims’ families.“That released me from the cell I had locked myself in,” Thomas Moore said Thursday, recalling the apology.A federal jury in Jackson, Mississippi, convicted Seale of kidnapping and conspiracy. He died in federal prison in 2011.Shannon Sieckert of Walnut Creek, California, has worked for a civil rights education organization and helped Thomas Moore apply for the Mississippi historical marker.“The state needed to officially recognize these two men, that their lives mattered, that they were important,” Sieckert said.Dunn Lampton, the U.S. attorney who prosecuted Seale, died in 2011 after being injured in a crash. His twin brother, Dudley Ford Lampton Sr., said Thursday that the prosecutor developed a bond of trust with Thomas Moore because both served in the military. Dudley Ford Lampton Sr. said his brother told him: “’If I can convict Mr. Seale, I believe justice will be done.’”During the ceremony, Thomas Moore led about two dozen people in singing a gospel song: “I will trust in the Lord ‘til I die…. I’m going to treat everybody right ‘til I die…. I’m going to stay on the battlefield ’til I die.”————Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus.