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US law: Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organisation.


US constitutional law is not a common subject for this blog, however given the level of interest in this particular decision it is worth including, even if only to provide a link to the published opinion of the Court.

The decision revisits and overturns two earlier decisions – Roe v Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennslyvania v Casey (1992),.

Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organisation (on the US Supreme Court website) has a detailed headnote which begins as follows:

Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act provides that “[e]xcept in a medical emergency or in the case of a severe fetal abnormality, a person shall not intentionally or knowingly perform . . . or induce an abortion of an unborn human being if the probable gestational age of the unborn human being has been determined to be greater than fifteen (15) weeks.”
Miss. Code Ann. §41–41–191.

Respondents—Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an abortion clinic, and one of its doctors—challenged the Act in Federal District Court, alleging that it violated this Court’s precedents establishing a constitutional right to abortion, in particular Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113, and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of respondents and permanently enjoined enforcement of the Act, reasoning that Mississippi’s 15-week restriction on abortion violates this Court’s cases forbidding States to ban abortion pre-viability. The Fifth Circuit affirmed.

Before this Court, petitioners defend the Act on the grounds that Roe and Casey were wrongly decided and that the Act is constitutional because it satisfies rational-basis review.

The US Supreme Court by a majority held that the US Constitution does not confer a right to abortion and overturned the earlier Roe and Casey decisions.

ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which THOMAS, GORSUCH, KAVANAUGH, and BARRETT, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., and KAVANAUGH, J., filed concurring opinions. ROBERTS, C. J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., filed a dissenting opinion.

Writing for The Conversation, Prudence Flowers (Flinders University) observes that with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, US pregnancy termination access and provision will be shaped by disparate state laws.

[BillMaddensWordpress #1996]


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