On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, upholding the state’s abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
In a 6-3 ruling, the court held that “the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
In a statement released shortly after the decision, Gov. Tate Reeves celebrated the decision.
“Mississippi has led the nation to overcome one of the greatest injustices in the history of our country,” Reeves said. “Our state’s historic case before the United States Supreme Court was the catalyst for overturning Roe v. Wade and has made the nation safer for children than it was just a few short hours ago.”
The state’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, closed its doors on July 6, 2022. According to Mississippi Free Press, the owners opened a clinic in New Mexico, where abortion remains legal.
The clinic filed a lawsuit following the ruling, asking a state court to temporarily block the trigger law from going into effect. Judge Debra Halford, special chancellor over the case between Jackson’s Health and the state, denied the request.
Under this law, which went into effect on July 7, abortions are banned unless a pregnant person’s life is in danger or the pregnant person is a victim of rape and has reported the incident to law enforcement. Anyone who performs or attempts to perform an abortion will be charged with a felony that is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000, up to 10 years in prison or both.
In part, her ruling said, “Further, states have ‘legitimate interests’ in restricting abortion — including ‘respect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development,’ ‘the protection of maternal health and safety,’ ‘the elimination of particularly gruesome or barbaric medical procedures,’ ‘the preservation of the integrity of the medical profession,’ ‘the mitigation of fetal pain,’ and ‘the prevention of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or disability,’ all as noted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs.”
The decision made in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization not only overturned Roe v. Wade, but also reversed Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which, in part, held that spousal awareness before abortion was invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment because it placed an undue burden on married women seeking an abortion.
Mississippi’s trigger law was certified by state Attorney General Lynn Fitch on Monday, June 27.