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The highly contentious case is a potential game changer for both sides of the movement since it could undo decades of precedent on the issue.
Caroline McDonald, left, a student at Georgetown University, Lauren Morrissey of Catholics for Choice and Pamela Huber of Washington join an abortion-rights rally outside the Supreme Court, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
“The pro-life movement should rejoice with how the SCOTUS oral argument went,” said Roger Severino, a former Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official in the Trump administration.
“I count six votes upholding the Mississippi law and 5 to 6 directly overturning Roe. Only Sotomayor defended the more extreme arguments of the pro-abortion side (and poorly),” said Severino.
CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin similarly suggested Wednesday’s arguments boded well for the anti-abortion movement. “If you believe that women should have the right choose abortion, today’s Supreme Court argument was a wall-to-wall disaster,” he said.
Pro-choice supporters lauded Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s comment during oral arguments, stating that she’s concerned about a political “stench” that may linger if the court overturns Roe v. Wade.
“Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it is possible,” Sotomayor said regarding the possibility of the court overturning Roe v. Wade.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson said, “During today’s arguments, it was alarming, though not surprising, that the majority of the Supreme Court justices appeared prepared to allow politicians to control what we can do with our bodies. Let’s be clear, if the Supreme Court allows Mississippi’s ban to stand, it will erase nearly 50 years of precedent, put abortion access at risk across the country, and, in the words of Justice Sotomayor, create a ‘stench’ in the public perception of the Court and its legitimacy.”
NARAL thanked Sotomayor in a tweet: “Thank you Justice Sonia Sotomayor for being a fierce champion of reproductive freedom, today and every day, in the face of unprecedented attacks. #SCOTUS.”
After oral arguments, feminist writer Jill Filipovich tweeted, “The abortion debate in the US is so frustrating because the question of what decreases the abortion rate is a solved one. We know how to make abortions less common: Reliable affordable contraception + good sex ed. But pro-lifers don’t want to do what works, so we’re stuck here.”
“[W]e need to get comfortable real quick with the reality that either we do this for each other or it won’t happen,” Caroline Reilly of the left-leaning publication Rewire tweeted. “[W]e need to outright reject the idea that a governing body ever had the right to tell us our bodies were their jurisdiction.”
Sotomayor encountered backlash from others like conservative commentator Josh Hammer, who also reflected on former President Trump’s role in changing the court’s composition.
Justice Samuel Alito received some conservative praise from the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Ryan Anderson in a tweet stating, “Alito is crushing it on the irrelevance of ‘viability’ line.”
Pro-abortion rights activist Alicia Hurt holds a placard during a protest outside the Supreme Court building ahead of arguments in the Mississippi abortion rights case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health in Washington Dec. 1, 2021. (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)
Carrie Severino, who leads the Judicial Crisis Network, praised the court’s handling of the case. “Today the Court did a great job articulating its constitutional role: not to pick winners and losers on divisive issues like abortion, but to remain ‘scrupulously neutral,’ as Justice Kavanaugh said,” Severino tweeted.