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Today Supreme Court hears oral arguments over state’s controversial 15-week abortion ban

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Nehemiah and Noah Boyd protest outside Jackson Women's Health Organization, Nov., 2021 
Ron Blaylock 

U.S. Supreme Court justices will hear oral arguments today over Mississippi’s 15-week abortion. MPB’s Desare Frazier reports it’s a historic case that could lead to overturning Roe v. Wade. 



Mississippi argues in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, individual state legislatures should determine whether to legalize or outlaw abortion.

Republican Senator Joey Fillingane of Sumrall, supported passage of the 15-week abortion ban in 2018.  He thinks Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and says personally he’d like to see the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the ruling.     

“Admit that and send it back to the states, which is what that type of ruling would do.  It certainly wouldn’t outlaw abortions across the country in a blanket uniform way. It would merely say ‘hey this is a state’s right issue and each of the 50 states ought to take it up in their legislatures and decide when abortions will be available and won’t be available,” Fillingane said. 

Mississippi also contends advances in technology prove viability, when a fetus can live outside of the womb, occurs sooner than about 24 weeks.  That’s the time frame set by Roe v. Wade in 1973.  Senior Attorney Hillary Schneller with the Center for Reproductive Rights will argue on behalf of the states only abortion clinic that,

“The constitution protects our right to liberty and our right to bodily integrity and there are few things that I think are more fundamental than being able to make the decision about whether to continue a pregnancy, which impacts a person’s body, their health and for many their life,” Schneller said. 

The U.S. Supreme Court has a 6 to 3 conservative majority.  But Schneller makes the point Roe v. Wade has been affirmed for over 50 years, despite the court's composition. She will add black women and women of color along with the poor could be adversely affected by overturning the law. 

Billboard Campaign

Michelle Colon is executive director of the non-profit Sheroes, Sisters Helping Every Sister Rise and Organize.  The group's focus is on advocating for reproductive rights for black women and other women of color.  She thinks Roe v. Wade may be overturned because of the conservative majority on the high court.  

"Because this particular case is not not so much about closing down one clinic  This case is about overturning Roe v. Wade.  And that's going to leave the majority of the country without an abortion provider and you know folks are going to have to travel across country for abortion health care,"  Colon said. 

Sheroes began a billboard campaign around the state this month, encouraging women to pursue their destinies despite the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.  A decision is expected in June of 2022.  Colon says they'll follow oral arguments today and rally at a park in downtown Jackson at noon. 

NPR will provide live coverage of the oral arguments beginning this morning at 8:30 a.m.