Politics

Maura Healey speaks out over Mississippi abortion case

“No matter what the court rules, I’m always going to stand up for abortion access.”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Just hours after oral arguments on the Mississippi abortion case took place in the Supreme Court Wednesday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey expressed her concerns on arguments made in the case that could potentially repeal the 50-year standing statute of Roe v. Wade and change abortion rights laws across the country.

No decision was made on the case, but that did not stop Healey, an advocate for abortion access, from speaking out about the commentaries made by the six-to-three majority-conservative panel of judges.

“I hope that they do the right thing here and uphold precedent, but certainly some of the commentaries, some of the questions, were discouraging to me as a lawyer in terms of what I heard today,” Healey said.

Advertisement:

In the oral arguments, the court seemed to lean toward upholding the Mississippi law, which bans abortions after 15 weeks, but it was less clear on whether they had a majority opinion on ending the nationwide law on abortion set by Roe v. Wade in 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992.

Out of the nine judges, only one, Justice Clarence Thomas, was in favor of overruling the two cases. One of the main questions of the hearing, asked by Thomas, was whether the Mississippi law could be upheld without overturning Roe.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Healey answered no. According to Healey, approximately 26 states would be able to ban abortion and 36 million women would be denied legal abortion, if the Mississippi law were to remain in place.

“It’s certainly a violation of privacy and autonomy and, fundamentally, respect for the dignity and worth of the women in this country,” she said. “It is distressing to me, it is sickening to me, to think that women’s rights like this are being relitigated and being discussed in the highest court of land as they were today.”

Since the slew of abortion rights cases have hit the courts, Healey has been active in fighting back against them from being enacted. In September, Healey led a coalition of 24 attorneys general to file an amicus brief to challenge the 15-week abortion ban that sprung up in Mississippi. In October, she filed another amicus brief with the coalition challenging the six-week abortion ban that was introduced in Texas. The court has yet to rule on the Texas law, but it has remained in place while under legal review.

Advertisement:

Healey also took to Twitter after the Mississippi abortion case was heard in court, calling the hearing a “dangerous day at SCOTUS.”

“Roe is the law of the land and must remain that way,” Healey wrote. “No matter what the Court rules, I’m always going to stand up for abortion access.”

The court is expected to reach a final decision on the Mississippi case most likely in June. If the court favors the law, it will allow Mississippi to change the timespan of when women can have abortions, from 23-24 weeks to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

If the two cases, which have set precedent for abortion laws, are overturned, it will give states the power to ban abortions at any time or entirely, and will heavily impact almost half of the states across the country.

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com