Arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, which centers on a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy will take place on Dec. 1.
The law in question challenges the court's previous ruling in Roe v. Wade and subsequent cases by imposing a restriction on abortion earlier than the recognized point of fetal viability – when a baby would be able to survive outside the womb – at approximately 24 weeks into pregnancy.
Court precedent says that women have a right to abortion pre-viability, and the Supreme Court will now take another look at this and hear arguments over whether all bans of pre-viability elective abortions go against the Constitution. The Mississippi law does not provide exceptions for cases of rape or incest, and only allows abortion after 15 weeks in cases of health emergencies or fetal abnormalities.
The case could have an impact on states with even more restrictive abortion laws, such as the Texas law that bans abortion once there is a fetal heartbeat – typically six weeks into pregnancy. The bill has drawn fierce criticism as many women do not even know they are pregnant before that point. Should the Supreme Court rule that Mississippi's law is unconstitutional for banning pre-viability abortions, Texas's law and others like it would likely be struck down soon after.
This fall, the justices will hear oral arguments in person for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic shut down face-to-face proceedings. Since 2020, the Supreme Court had held arguments via teleconferencing, allowing the public to listen to live audio. The audience for arguments in the upcoming term will be limited, kept mainly to legal teams and the press.
Fox News' Shannon Bream and Bill Mears contributed to this report.