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Pelosi: The Supreme Court Has the Responsibility to ‘Honor the Constitution’ And Uphold Roe v. Wade

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a statement Wednesday on the Supreme Court case Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, where she said the Court has the responsibility to “honor the Constitution” and uphold abortion rights.

The Dobbs case, as I’ve been covering, surrounds the constitutionality of a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. Dobbs is the first case in decades with the potential to overturn landmark cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which gave women the right to an abortion.

In a statement shared via Twitter, Pelosi said that “any failure to fully strike down the Mississippi ban would seriously erode the legitimacy of the Court” and touted the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), legislation that would “codifyRoe into federal law.

“As the Supreme Court hears arguments in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, it has the opportunity and responsibility to honor the Constitution, the law and this basic truth: every woman has the constitutional right to basic reproductive health care.

Mississippi’s radical abortion ban, part of a nationwide assault against women’s freedoms targeting in particular women of color and women from low-income communities, is brazenly unconstitutional and designed to destroy Roe v. Wade. Yet again, Republicans are trying to control a woman’s most personal decisions about her body and her family and are trying to criminalize health care professionals for providing reproductive care. The constitutional right to an abortion has been repeatedly affirmed, and any failure to fully strike down the Mississippi ban would seriously erode the legitimacy of the Court, as the Court itself warned in its ruling in Casey, and question its commitment to the rule of law itself. 

The House is committed to defending women’s health freedoms and to enshrining into law our House-passed Women’s Health Protection Act, led by Congresswoman Judy Chu, to protect reproductive health care for all women across America.”

As I covered in July, Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban is far from “radical,” as most western European countries prohibit abortion after 12 weeks or 15 weeks gestation. America is one of only a handful of countries, along with China and North Korea, that permit any sort of third trimester elective abortion. As Katie reported, Chief Justice Roberts pointed this out during the Dobbs arguments on Wednesday.

Also in July, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn both Roe and Casey. In her brief, she noted how both rulings are “egregiously wrong” and the laws put in place by both cases are outdated.

Roe and Casey are egregiously wrong. The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition,” Fitch said in the brief. “So the question becomes whether this Court should overrule those decisions. It should.”

“Today, adoption is accessible and on a wide scale women attain both professional success and a rich family life, contraceptives are more available and effective, and scientific advances show that an unborn child has taken on the human form and features months before viability,” Fitch continued in the brief. “States should be able to act on those developments. But Roe and Casey shackle States to a view of the facts that is decades out of date.”

During the arguments Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas questioned where the right to abortion is included in the Constitution.

"If we were talking about the 2nd Amendment, I know exactly what we’re talking about. If we're talking about the 4th Amendment, I know what we're talking about, because it’s written. It’s there," Thomas said. "What specifically is the right here that we’re talking about?"

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