Wednesday marks the 47th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the landmark court case that legalized abortion nationwide, though the law faces serious challenges in the months ahead.
In March, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Louisiana's new abortion law, which requires that physicians performing abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
The case is significant as it will be the first abortion case heard since Justice Brett Kavanaugh replaced Anthony Kennedy on the high court. Additionally, more than 200 Republican lawmakers are pushing for the justices to use the case – June Medical Services v. Gee – to overturn Roe v. Wade once and for all.
"Forty-six years after Roe was decided, it remains a radically unsettled precedent," the lawmakers said in a brief filed Jan. 2.
"[Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey] clearly did not settle the abortion issue, and it is time for the Court to take it up again."
A number of states have passed restrictive abortion laws, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, and Utah.
"The situation would be much worse if the federal right is limited or overturned," Elisabeth Smith of the Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion-rights legal advocacy group, told NPR.
For now, "abortion is still legal. Every state has at least one abortion clinic," Smith adds.
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