The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider gutting the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, taking up Mississippi's bid to revive a Republican-backed state law that bans the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
By hearing the case, the justices will look at whether to overturn a central part of the landmark ruling, a longstanding goal of religious conservatives.
The court first announced a woman's constitutional right to an abortion in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, and reaffirmed it in 1992.
Those rulings said states could not ban abortion before the viability of the fetus outside the womb, which is generally viewed by doctors as between 24 and 28 weeks. The Mississippi law would ban abortion much earlier than that.
Mississippi's ban had been blocked by lower courts as inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent that protects a woman's right to obtain an abortion before the fetus can survive outside her womb.
Abortion opponents are hopeful the Supreme Court will narrow or overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. The court moved from a 5-4 to a 6-3 conservative majority following Senate confirmation last year of Republican former President Donald Trump's third appointee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
The 2018 Mississippi law, like others similar to it passed by Republican-led states, was enacted with full knowledge that was a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.
After the only abortion clinic in Mississippi, Jackson Women's Health Organization, sued to try to block the measure, a federal judge in 2018 ruled against the state. The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019 reached the same conclusion, prompting the state to appeal to the Supreme Court.
This report contains material from Reuters and The Associated Press.
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