Supreme Court thrusts abortion into midterms fight with Mississippi case

May 20, 2021

CBS News: Supreme Court thrusts abortion into midterms fight with Mississippi case
By: Melissa Quinn

The Supreme Court's decision this week to take up a blockbuster bid by Mississippi to save its 15-week abortion ban has thrust the politically charged issue into the midterm elections fight, with both sides of the debate over abortion access hoping the case and forthcoming decision will drive their respective voters to the polls in 2022.

The justices on Monday agreed to hear the case involving Mississippi's law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. A ruling upholding the ban could give Republican-led states the green light to impose more restrictions on the procedure and weaken Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to an abortion.

For pro-abortion rights advocates, the decision by the court, now with a 6-3 conservative majority, gives Democrats the chance to amplify the daylight between Republicans over their views on abortion, which they believe will be a boon to Democratic candidates given the support from Americans for leaving Roe intact.

“This could not be more consequential,” Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY's List, which works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, told CBS News, “because Republicans have been trying to hide their true intention around abortion for years. But now, their goal is clear and stated, to overturn Roe and take away the right [for women] to make their own health care decisions.”

But for anti-abortion rights advocates, the action from the Supreme Court this week is the culmination of a years-long effort to shift the high court to the right with hopes a case that takes aim at Roe would end up before a conservative court.

“It vindicates the past elections that people have participated in, 2014, 2016, 2018,” Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications at Susan B. Anthony List, a group that supports candidates who oppose abortion rights, told CBS News. “From a pro-life perspective, all of that was putting in place a pro-life Senate and pro-life White House, such that we could nominate and confirm justices such as the ones we have on the court right now.”