Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and 10 other GOP governors petitioned the Supreme Court Thursday to overturn its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.
The group of GOP executives cosigned a brief in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which centers on a 2018 Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks. The governors pushed the Court to uphold Mississippi’s abortion ban as well as to overturn a pair of key Supreme Court rulings on abortion in Roe and in 1992’s Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.
Overturning Roe would not outlaw abortion, but leave regulation of abortion to the states. As the governors wrote:
For too long, the Federal Government has dived (not just waded) into issues reserved to the States under the Constitution. Although those forays usually come from the political branches, they have, on occasion, come from this Court as well. Roe and Casey are quintessential examples of such misadventures. The Court should take this opportunity to correct the mistakes in its abortion jurisprudence and recognize that the text and original understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment have nothing to do with abortion. Rather than creating a federal constitutional right, the Court should leave regulating abortion to the States, where the people may act through the democratic process. This Court should hold as much—and in the process, help restore the constitutional (but currently disrupted) balance between the Federal Government and the States.
Along with DeSantis, 10 other GOP governors signed the brief: Kay Ivey of Alabama, Doug Ducey of Arizona, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Brian K. Kemp of Georgia, Brad Little of Idaho, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Mike Parson of Missouri, Greg Gianforte of Montana, J. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, and Greg Abbott of Texas.
Mississippi petitioned the Supreme Court last week to overturn a decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the state’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks.
“There are those who would like to believe that Roe v. Wade settled the issue of abortion once and for all,” Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said in a statement. “But all it did was establish a special-rules regime for abortion jurisprudence that has left these cases out of step with other Court decisions and neutral principles of law applied by the Court.”
“As a result, state legislatures, and the people they represent, have lacked clarity in passing laws to protect legitimate public interests, and artificial guideposts have stunted important public debate on how we, as a society, care for the dignity of women and their children,” Fitch continued. “It is time for the Court to set this right and return this political debate to the political branches of government.”
The Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case and is scheduled to hear arguments this fall. The case will be the first test of the 6-3 conservative court over the abortion issue and is conservative’s best shot in decades to roll back Roe.
Should the Supreme Court strike down Roe, at least 10 states, including Mississippi, have passed so-called “trigger” laws that go into effect restricting abortion across those states.