Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

SCOTUS Hears Arguments on Mississippi Abortion Case

December 1, 2021

~ 5 minutes read

On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court heard arguments on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which challenges a Mississippi law passed in 2018 “which prohibits all abortions, with few exceptions, after 15 weeks’ gestational age.”

Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an abortion provider in Mississippi, requested and was granted an emergency temporary restraining order by the district court. The court later “enjoined Mississippi from enforcing the law [as] the state had not provided evidence that a fetus would be viable at 15 weeks, and Supreme Court precedent prohibits states from banning abortions prior to viability.”

What else is each side focusing on?
  • The rights of women must be respected. 
  • Abortion is a constitutional right. 
  • Anti-abortion legislation would never pass in Congress. 
  • The lawyers in this case can’t distinguish their objections to abortion from their objections to other fundamental rights.
  • Killing an innocent human is murder. 
  • Abortion is unconstitutional. 
  • The rights of the unborn child must be respected.
The Narrative

The government should not have the right to unduly interfere in people’s personal lives. Overturning Roe v Wade is just the beginning — other rights are also at risk of being overturned in the future if the right to abortion is restricted. 

This is an attempt to limit access to abortion in an undemocratic fashion after packing the courts.

Murder is illegal in the United States and, since all unborn children are fully human and innocent, abortion equals murder. 

We have an obligation to protect all children from harm, and abortion goes against that fundamental principle.

How could a reasonable person come to think this?
  • A fetus that is not viable outside the womb is not yet a human being. Therefore, women’s right to privacy and personal autonomy takes precedence.
  • Life begins at conception and all abortions are therefore murder. The right to life takes precedence over all other rights.

What else is the left focusing on?

  • The rights of women must be respected. 
  • Abortion is a constitutional right. 
  • Anti-abortion legislation would never pass in Congress. 
  • The lawyers in this case can’t distinguish their objections to abortion from their objections to other fundamental rights. 

 

The narrative: The government should not have the right to unduly interfere in people’s personal lives. Overturning Roe v Wade is just the beginning — other rights are also at risk of being overturned in the future if the right to abortion is restricted. 

This is an attempt to limit access to abortion in an undemocratic fashion after packing the courts. 

 

How could a reasonable person come to think this?

  • A fetus that is not viable outside the womb is not yet a human being. Therefore, women’s right to privacy and personal autonomy takes precedence. 

What else is the right focusing on?

  • Killing an innocent human is murder. 
  • Abortion is unconstitutional. 
    The rights of the unborn child must be respected. 

 

The narrative: Murder is illegal in the United States and, since all unborn children are fully human and innocent, abortion equals murder. 

We have an obligation to protect all children from harm, and abortion goes against that fundamental principle. 

 

How could a reasonable person come to think this?

  • Life begins at conception and all abortions are therefore murder. The right to life takes precedence over all other rights. 

As we’ve written in the past, the different ways each side talks about abortion make it extraordinarily difficult to understand how the other side could reasonably hold their opinion. It’s therefore critical we understand the other side within their own terms.

For the left, this means continuously reminding ourselves that the right genuinely believes life starts at conception — so they are giving equal moral weight to the woman and the fetus. 

Momentarily setting aside personal beliefs about when life begins and stepping into the shoes of the right, consider the implications should they be correct: over 600,000 murders are happening every year. Would you not fight tooth and nail to end that practice too?

For the right, this means continuously reminding ourselves that the left is focusing on people’s right to autonomy over their own lives – especially in situations which risk pushing women into emotional, mental, and/or financial poverty. 

Momentarily setting aside personal beliefs about when life begins and stepping into the shoes of the left, consider the implications should they be correct: hundreds of thousands of women’s fates would be in the hands of government bureaucrats, resulting in the loss of these women’s personal autonomy. Would you not fight tooth and nail to protect this fundamental right?

What do you think? Do you agree with one side, or do you fall somewhere in between? Give us feedback on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, or by emailing info@narrativesproject.com.