A University of Michigan Law school graduate is set to submit an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing abortion is a states’ rights issue.
A coalition of approximately 22 pro-life groups and several legislators collected signatures from more than 300 lawmakers in 35 states in support of the brief, ranging from Michigan state Rep. Steve Carra to Arkansas state Sen. Scott Flippo, both Republicans.
“We’re hoping to accomplish protecting life within our respective states as best as possible,” Carra told The Center Square in a phone interview. “Roe v. Wade was abundantly unconstitutional. It’s now clear that it’s life in the womb, not potential life.”
Forty other Michigan lawmakers as well as a majority of the Kentucky Republican caucus have signed on, imploring the nation’s top court to let constituents tell lawmakers their values.
The briefs follow a May U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear Mississippi’s appeal of a 2019 decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In that decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a previous decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, overturning a state law prohibiting abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
“Roe and Casey are egregiously wrong. The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition,” The Wall Street Journal quoted Mississippi’s argument. “Roe broke from prior cases, Casey failed to rehabilitate it, and both recognize a right that has no basis in the Constitution.”
The amicus brief is expected to be submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday or Thursday, with the help of Michigan attorneys Matthew Gronda and Philip L. Ellison.
The brief should be one of at least three included on Mississippi’s abortion restriction argument. Another is the Wallbuilders amicus brief arguing that under the 9th Amendment, fetuses are persons under the Constitution and have rights, so SCOTUS should prohibit abortion nationwide under the Constitution. A third collected signatures from the Susan B. Anthony group, including only female legislators.
“Mississippi has said the quiet part out loud. The purpose of its blatantly unconstitutional abortion ban is to have the Supreme Court overrule 50 years of precedent and allow states to ban abortions,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. “This is not what the American people—80 [percent] of whom support safe, legal abortion—want, and it would deny essential health care primarily to people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people with low incomes. Planned Parenthood will continue to do all we can to fight back and protect access to reproductive freedom for all.”
Those who support unrestricted access to abortion argue it’s a medical service, and that banning abortion on a state-by-state basis endangers women seeking abortions where it’s outlawed, leading to possible unsafe, black-market abortions.
In 2020, 29,669 abortions were performed in Michigan.
The amicus brief reviewed by The Center Square argues “[t]he power to regulate abortion falls squarely into States’ police powers,” as it did for 150 years pre-Roe.
“We argue this depoliticizes the court and that it returns states to their rightful place in the constitutional scheme,” UM graduate Jacob Weaver told The Center Square in a phone interview.
Weaver pointed out that individual states regulate a wide substance of issues ranging from the right to die, the use of potentially life-saving but not Food and Drug Administration approved drugs, and a range of other medical decisions. For example, about eight states have enacted right to die statutes, and roughly 13 other states are considering such legislation. And before Congress passed the Right to Try Act in 2018, states regulated the field. Other examples of regulation, such as Oregon’s decriminalization of all drug use in 2020, permeate through the American system of government.
“These decisions that states constantly regulate are just as intimate and personal as abortion,” Weaver said.
Some states are already prepared, having enacted laws if Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
“This is going to be the biggest abortion case in the last 30 years,” Weaver said.
The case is scheduled for the October term with a decision expected by next summer.
By Scott McClallen