Mississippi abortion ban heads to the Supreme Court, and 2 more are on the way


GOP lawmakers openly acknowledge that they are looking to upend the precedent set by Roe v. Wade.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a challenge to Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, while Texas just passed a six-week ban. Those laws aren't the only threat to abortion rights in America right now. There are more in the pipeline, and they're designed to challenge Roe v. Wade

Late last month, Oklahoma GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt signed three anti-abortion bills, one of which functions as a near-total ban, barring abortions at the six-week mark when many people do not yet know they are pregnant. Any provider in Oklahoma who performs an abortion after that point is guilty of homicide. Oklahoma's law has no exception for rape or incest.

And, not content to threaten abortion providers with murder charges, Oklahoma also passed a law that takes a doctor's license away if they perform an abortion. There's no exception for rape or incest in that law either. 

Under existing law, both of these laws are likely unconstitutional. The six-week gestational ban bars people from getting an abortion well before the fetus is viable to live outside the womb. That isn't permissible under Roe or subsequent abortion cases, but it could become permissible if the Supreme Court finds that Mississippi's pre-viability ban is constitutional. However, it's unclear how, absent Roe being overturned, Oklahoma could de-license physicians for performing a legal procedure. 

One of the co-sponsors of these bills, GOP state Sen. Julie Daniels, openly acknowledged that the point of these bills is to get a court challenge to the Supreme Court. "And so we continue to chip away at [abortion] in hopes that one day, there will be a different decision at the US Supreme Court level[.]"

Arkansas is also working on getting its ban in front of the courts, hoping that ultimately the Supreme Court would overturn Roe. Earlier this year, the state passed a complete ban, barring all abortions except in the event of a medical emergency and with no exceptions for rape or incest. When GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the law, he issued a signing statement that made clear the ban isn't constitutional The statement said the law stands in opposition to the "binding precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court" but that the point of the law is "to set the stage for the Supreme court overturning current case law."

Meanwhile, Texas isn't done passing restrictive laws yet either. The state GOP is pushing a trigger law, which would outlaw abortion nearly immediately in the state, were Roe v. Wade to be overturned. Oklahoma just passed a trigger law earlier this year. 

These laws are designed to push the Supreme Court, which now has a solid anti-abortion majority, to take a case that will undermine or overturn Roe. If Mississippi or Texas doesn't succeed, Oklahoma or Arkansas just might.