How to Listen to the Supreme Court Case That Will Determine the Future of U.S. Abortion Rights

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After the decision on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Texas abortion case outside the Supreme Court, Washington, D.C., in June 2016. (Adam Fagen / Flickr)

Wednesday’s Supreme Court case—Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—is the first abortion case in front of the Court that could overturn Roe v. Wade. The case in question, which involves a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks, requires the justices to consider whether all pre-viability prohibitions on abortion are unconstitutional.

Arguments start at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 1, and can be livestreamed here.

rally in support of abortion rights will be held outside the Court starting at 8:15 a.m. ET, with thousands expected to attend. Speakers at the rally will include Congress members, abortion providers and people who have had abortions. You can watch a livestream of the rally here.

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A potential Supreme Court decision to uphold the ban at the heart of Dobbs v. Jackson “would undermine the rule of law,” according to Julie Rikelman, who will be arguing this case as the CRR’s senior litigation director alongside Hillary Schneller, CRR’s senior staff attorney. “The Supreme Court has protected this right as part of the constitutional right to liberty for just about 50 years. Not only has it protected the right, but it has already been asked to overrule Roe—it has already looked at every single argument Mississippi makes in this case for overruling Roe and it has rejected those arguments … as not good enough reasons. And yet Mississippi comes to them again with the very same arguments now.”

Rikelman is referencing two cases: the 2016 case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which the Court ruled 5–3 that Texas cannot place restrictions on the delivery of abortion services that create an undue burden for women seeking an abortion; and the 2020 case of June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, a virtual replica of Whole Woman’s Health, this time striking down a Louisiana law that would have reduced the number of abortion clinics in the state to one.

The Court’s decision to consider the Dobbs case in the first place has created a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court among the general public: A Gallup poll from September shows Supreme Court approval at 40 percent—the lowest number recorded since the poll first started tracking this question in August of 2000.

Ms. and the Brennan Center (BC) for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute at the NYU School of Law, recently co-published 11 essays as part of a groundbreaking series, “Abortion Is Essential to Democracy.” In the series, BC experts argue that voting rights and democracy are connected to abortion access. The essays all directly comment on the decision for the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. JacksonRead all 11 essays here.

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About

Roxy Szal is the digital editor at Ms. and a producer on the Ms. podcast "On the Issues With Michele Goodwin." Before becoming a journalist, she was a Texas public school English teacher. She is based in Austin, Texas. Find her on Twitter @roxyszal.