More than 200 Republican lawmakers on Thursday petitioned the lopsidedly conservative Supreme Court to overturn the monumental Roe v. Wade decision that effectively legalized abortion in the United States.
In an Amicus Curiae filed this week in the pending case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, 228 GOP members from both chambers of Congress — including members of both the House and Senate leadership teams, such as Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Mitch McConnell — threw their considerable weight behind the state of Mississippi's ongoing effort to enact legislation that would criminalize terminating almost all pregnancies after just 15 weeks, and without exceptions for women who have been raped or subjected to incest. Two lower courts had previously blocked the 2018 law from being applied, resulting in the state's petition to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case this past May.
While the case itself is specific to Mississippi's legislation, the state's Republican Attorney General made clear in a filing earlier this month that the issue at hand is ultimately the desire to overturn the "egregiously wrong" Roe v. Wade decision made nearly half a century ago. In their brief supporting Mississippi's restrictive abortion legislation, the hundreds of conservative lawmakers requested that:
[T]he Court uphold Mississippi’s law as effectuating important state interests, or, alternatively, return this case to the lower courts for consideration on a full evidentiary record, recognizing that certain precedents may be reconsidered and, where necessary, be wholly or partially overruled.
Or, put more simply, they asked the court to consider that it might be necessary to overturn the "precedents" (that is: Roe v. Wade) in their case entirely.
While conservatives have long run on promises to overturn Roe v. Wade, Mississippi's case — and the lockstep endorsement thereof from nearly 230 members of Congress — represents a unique danger to women's reproductive rights, given the currently skewed makeup of the Supreme Court. With three far right Justices seated during former President Donald Trump's term — including most recently, the staunchly anti-abortion Justice Amy Coney Barrett — the court's liberal minority could be powerless to stop the conservative majority from running roughshod over the current precedents for reproductive health.