05.18.21

Pro-Choice Caucus leaders’ statement on Supreme Court decision to hear Mississippi abortion ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court announced today it will soon hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case dealing with the constitutionality of a Mississippi law banning almost all abortions after 15 weeks. 

“We are extremely alarmed and disappointed that the Supreme Court has decided to take up a case that directly challenges the Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade,” said Pro-Choice Caucus co-chairs U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Barbara Lee (D-CA). “Similar abortion bans have been held unconstitutional in this country for nearly fifty years. This attempt to challenge that long-standing legal precedent is part of a broader, concerted effort to turn back the clock on Americans’ reproductive rights. This case – and the Supreme Court’s decision today to take it up –represents a significant, growing threat to Americans’ right to reproductive care.”

Since 1973, the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade has prevented states from banning abortion before fetal viability – generally considered to be around 24 weeks. Dobbs v. Jackson presents a direct challenge to that ban and could result in millions of Americans losing access to abortion care. 

If Roe falls, 11 states already have “trigger bans” in place that would ban abortion immediately in those states; and as many as two dozen more would likely act to ban abortion outright.

Since 2019, twelve states have sought to enact unconstitutional abortion bans similar to the Mississippi law that will soon be considered by the Court. All of those laws, however, were struck down by lower courts. 

“Every American deserves access to safe abortion care,” DeGette and Lee said. “Today’s announcement makes the need for Congress to act that much more urgent. As the leaders of the Pro-Choice Caucus, we strongly urge Congress to pass Rep. Judy Chu’s bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would permanently enshrine the protections provided under Roe into law, preventing states from enacting bans and medically unnecessary restrictions.”