What a Roberts Compromise on Abortion Could Look Like?

Debates surrounding abortion and the laws surrounding it is going on for months. The abortion-rights supporters have been working for months to claim their rights that are currently at high risk.

The ongoing abortion case from Mississippi has taken quite a dramatic turn since the Supreme Court’s pending decision will have a marked effect on abortion laws in the majority of the 50 US States. Along with the trials of the ongoing case, a point has come where the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling could be overturned.

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The high court had stuck to abortion rights in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision. It was stated that any restrictions cannot cause any “undue burden”. Even in 2016, a Texan Law made it difficult for clinics and doctors, providing abortions, to meet requirements.

The Roe v. Casey decision upheld the rights by indicating that states are not allowed to ban abortion if a fetus is not viable- doctors generally view this to be around 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy!

The Case in Hand

In the current cases, nine judges are deciding whether Mississippi’s ban on abortion rights is to be revived or not. If it is revived it would mean tighter restrictions and a ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The court has a 6-3 conservative majority which indicates that there is a majority to take such a drastic step.

What Could the Ruling Be?

Based on the oral arguments that transpired in December, the conservative majority in the court was weighing on upholding the Mississippi law. This would directly affect the Roe decision which implied that states can’t put a ban on abortion pre-viability. A leaked draft report formulated by Justice Samuel Alito suggested that the court might overrun the Roe v. Wade decision altogether. In either scenario, states wanting to restrict or ban abortion rights will get many freeways to do so.

roberts compromise

Is There Any Chance of a Compromise?

A compromise protecting the abortion laws cannot be seen in any manner. Chief Justice John Roberts was propagating the idea of upholding the Mississippi Law at an oral argument. This would have allowed the states to ban abortion before viability but wouldn’t have overruled the Roe decision altogether. However, his conservative colleagues didn’t seem to be receptive to such an argument.

Courts Change in View on Abortion

Several changes in personnel have been made during the presidency of the Republican Donald Trump. These changes have directly affected the views of the Supreme Court. Previously, there was a 5-4 conservative majority wherein some judges such as Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor acted as moderators. They had even cast voted to uphold the right to abortion.

However, all of that changed when Donald Trump became the President of the US. During his four-year presidency, the President made some new appointments in the Supreme Court. In 2017 Neil Gorsuch, 2018 Brett Kavanaugh, and 2020 Amy Coney Barrett were included on the bench of justice and all of them are likely to be in the majority of the court is to overturn Roe.

Implications of Overruling Roe

There could be drastic and even fatal implications if the Roe decision is to be overruled or even limited. It would give the state too much power over abortion laws and conservative states would restrict or ban it altogether.

This would mean that many women in the United States wishing to end a pregnancy might even risk some potentially dangerous abortion procedures. They might otherwise travel to some other state wherein abortion remains legal through operations or pills. The liberal-leaning states would uphold the abortion laws and about a dozen of these states even have various laws protecting abortion rights.

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Mississippi is one among the 13 states who could be said to have a trigger law. If Roe is overturned, these laws would allow abortion to be banned. It is believed that about 26 states would try to limit the existing abortion rights. Some experts are also claiming that overruling the Roe decision might affect other freedoms such as those related to marriage, sexuality, birth control, same-sex marriage, and so on!

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