Supreme Court Abortion Case Holds Signs of Hope for Pro-Life Evangelicals

The conservative-majority Supreme Court appeared willing to side with Mississippi’s abortion ban, which restricts beyond what “Roe v. Wade” allows.

After a long-awaited challenge to Roe v. Wade made it to the US Supreme Court on Wednesday, pro-life evangelicals who had rallied for the cause for decades were encouraged that the conservative-leaning court appeared willing to uphold a contentious Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks.

The justices’ decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, due in late June, could overturn the country’s landmark abortion rights cases, making way for more restrictive state laws protecting the rights of fetuses in the womb.

White evangelicals—who are twice as likely than the average American to want to make abortion illegal—gathered outside the high court in Washington and, across the country, listened to the oral arguments streamed online due to the pandemic.

But the two-hour discussion—the greatest threat to abortion policy in 50 years of prayer and advocacy—largely skipped over familiar evangelical talking points to focus on the legal grounds for the case.

“Personhood” came up twice in the oral arguments; “mother” and “motherhood” just three times. But “stare decisis,” a legal term meaning the court would stand by historic precedent, got nearly 50 mentions.

“The discussion was purely legal—purely legal in a way that might have surprised some,” said Notre Dame law professor Sherif Girgis in a discussion convened by the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC). “It was really just focused on: Is there a doctrinal path to a middle ground?”

The middle ground Gergis references is whether the court can somehow uphold the Mississippi law banning abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy without overturning Roe v. …

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