From The Texas Tribune:
As the battle over Texas’ law that effectively bans abortions six weeks into pregnancy plays out in the courts, advocates on both sides are closely watching a highly anticipated Mississippi case heading to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Anti-abortion advocates see an opportunity for the conservative-leaning high court to overturn Roe v. Wade, allowing Texas to end the practice outright. But reproductive rights groups are holding out hope that the court affirms abortion rights in a way that overrides elements of Texas’ new law.
Mississippi passed a law in 2018 attempting to prohibit all abortions after 15 weeks, challenging Roe v. Wade’s landmark 1973 decision that legalized the procedure nationwide before fetal viability, which is around 24 weeks of gestation. The state law never went into effect because a federal appellate court blocked its enforcement.
Courts haven’t blocked Texas’ more restrictive law in the same way, because the state doesn’t enforce it. Instead, the law relies on private citizens to enforce the law by suing providers and others who help Texans access abortions.
Legal experts say the court is likely to make a narrower ruling, rather than overturning Roe v. Wade, which means it could strike down the Mississippi ban without touching Texas’ law at all. If the court were to overturn Roe, however, it could lead “trigger laws” across 12 states — including Texas — that ban all abortions to go into effect.
The uncertainty around access to abortion in Texas partially stems from the unprecedented makeup of the high court, which is the most conservative it has been since at least the 1930s, said Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law.
“The [Mississippi] case is a promising opportunity for the pro-life movement to have the biggest Supreme Court win since 1973,” said John Seago, legislative director for anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life. “We are optimistic.”