Abortion rights advocates on Monday urged the U.S. Supreme Court not to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide - a 1973 landmark imperiled in the legal fight over Mississippi's attempt to ban the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
"The fallout would be swift and certain. As abortion bans are enforced - or the threat of enforcement looms - large swaths of the South and Midwest would likely be without access to legal abortion," said lawyers for Jackson Women's Health Organization, the only abortion clinic in Mississippi.
"People would be harmed, and chaos would ensue, even in states that claim not to be prohibiting abortion directly," the lawyers added.
Monday's court filing was in response to Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, a Republican, who said in papers filed with the court in July that the Roe v. Wade ruling and a subsequent 1992 decision that affirmed it were both "egregiously wrong."
The court has a 6-3 conservative majority.
The Supreme Court's central role in the fight over abortion rights was highlighted on Sept. 1 when in a late-night decision it allowed a Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy to stay in effect, setting off a firestorm of criticism https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-supreme-court-declines-block-texas-abortion-ban-2021-09-02 from abortion rights advocates.
The court in May agreed https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-supreme-court-takes-up-case-that-could-limit-abortion-rights-2021-05-17 to take up the Mississippi case and will hear it in its term that begins in October.
Oral arguments have not yet been scheduled, with a ruling due by the end of June 2022.
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