7 Things You Should Know About the Dobbs Supreme Court Case • The Pregnancy Network

7 Things You Should Know About the Dobbs Supreme Court Case

Note: Roe was overturned in June 2022. This article was written prior to that decision.

The Supreme Court is expected to make an important decision regarding Roe v. Wade this summer. It can be challenging to sift through all the information for straightforward answers to the questions raised by this case. We’ve compiled some of the most common questions and answers regarding the Dobbs Supreme Court Case here. We’ve also provided a link to graphics with this information that you’re welcome to share with others. We hope this will help you to be well-informed about this historic case. 

Regardless of the outcome of this case, The Pregnancy Network’s mission will remain the same: to empower women to face their unplanned pregnancies without fear. We will always offer free services and resources to help equip women as they make decisions about their pregnancies. 

If you think you may be pregnant, don’t hesitate to call us today for a free pregnancy test and ultrasound. You can do this, and we will help you. Click here to make an appointment or call 336-274-4881. 

7 Things You Should Know About the Dobbs Supreme Court Case

1. What is the Dobbs case about?

In 2018, the state of Mississippi passed a law to limit abortions after 15 weeks gestation. The law was challenged and then blocked in the lower courts from taking effect; it was blocked because the state did not provide evidence for viability at 15 weeks. Because of the Roe and Casey cases, states are prohibited from banning abortions prior to viability. Mississippi has appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

The question that must be answered is whether or not banning abortions after 15 weeks is constitutional. 

2. What is the key issue being addressed in the Dobbs case?

The ultimate question is whether “all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” The problem with using viability as a standard of when abortion is acceptable is that there is much disagreement in the medical field as to when viability begins. Viability (the ability of an unborn child to survive outside the womb) may differ based on location, access to medical technology, etc. During oral arguments, it was discussed at length whether or not the viability standard should be thrown out, and if so, what should replace it.

The state of Mississippi is essentially challenging the court to reverse Roe (the constitutional right to abortion). If the court is unwilling to reverse Roe, Mississippi is asking the court to instead consider removing viability as the standard for when states can ban abortion. 

During oral arguments, the pro-abortion side was given the opportunity to defend the position that viability as a standard is non-arbitrary. They were unable to do so convincingly. 

3. What are the Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood cases about?

Roe v. Wade in 1973 established a woman’s absolute, constitutional right to abortion. Casey v. Planned Parenthood in 1993, created the “undue burden” standard, which held that the court would invalidate state laws that had “the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.”

In other words, Casey invalidates restrictions states attempt to place on abortion before viability. So if Roe and Casey are overturned, then states have the power to enforce restrictions before viability.

4. What are the possible outcomes of the Dobbs case?

Outcome #1: The court could strike down the Mississippi law, leaving Roe and Casey intact. Based on oral arguments and the current justices in place, this is unlikely.

Outcome #2: The court could overturn Roe and Casey. This would return decision-making about abortion to the states. Based on oral arguments, it appears at least five justices are prepared to overturn Roe and Casey.

Outcome #3: The court could rule that the Mississippi law “does not place ‘an undue burden’ on women seeking an abortion – this would leave Roe standing in principle, while undermining it in practice.” This would give states freedom to impose greater restrictions on abortion by discarding the standard of viability.

5. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, would abortion become illegal in the US?

In as many as 21 states, yes, it could. 

6. When will the court's decision be made?

June or July 2022. 

7. If Roe is overturned, what does that mean for women facing unplanned pregnancies?

If Roe is overturned, decisions about abortion restrictions would return to the states. In this case, it is likely that abortion in North Carolina would remain legal. Because other states are likely to impose greater restrictions on abortion, many women would likely seek abortion access in North Carolina, resulting in an even greater need for pregnancy resource center (PRC) services. 

When abortion is harder to access or has greater restrictions in place, many women feel pressure to make a quick decision before considering all their options. The Pregnancy Network will remain proactive in providing safe, loving, and easily accessible services to women in unplanned pregnancies.

Mary Holloman

Mary Holloman

Mary is the Communications Coordinator at The Pregnancy Network. You can follow more of her work at maryholloman.com.