On Oct. 26, 2020, just about one year ago, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg. In the past year, the majority conservative Supreme Court of the United States has made several moves to undo RBG’s decades of work.
During his single term, President Donald Trump appointed three justices to the Supreme Court, finishing with the controversial confirmation of Justice Barrett just a few days before the 2020 presidential election. The Supreme Court now comprises of three liberal justices and six conservative justices. With abortion being a major issue among the Republican party, reproductive rights have quickly become a major topic in this new Supreme Court’s list of hearings.
In 1973, twenty years before Ginsberg’s confirmation, the Supreme Court passed Roe v. Wade, declaring abortion a fundamental right. Both before and after her confirmation, RBG stood with the legalization of abortion and called out anti-choice legislators for targeting women by banning abortion.
Since then, several Republican-dominated states in the South and Midwest, including Georgia, have made attempts to restrict or ban abortion. Earlier this year, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the country’s most restrictive abortion law, banning abortion as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. At six weeks, many women have no idea that they are even pregnant.
In September, the Supreme Court broke its silence on the case, refusing to block Texas’ abortion law. The Supreme Court has effectively allowed Texas to place a ban on all abortion, seeing that almost 90% of procedures occur after the six-week cutoff. Additionally, the Texas law makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, unlike Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s intended “Heartbeat Bill,” which a lower court had ruled unconstitutional in 2019.
While Georgia’s abortion law was set to be revisited by a federal court in the week of Sept. 24, the court has announced that it will wait to hear the Supreme Court’s ruling on a separate abortion case in Mississippi, which will be heard in early December. Mississippi’s law plans to restrict abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
As seen in Texas and Mississippi, the Supreme Court has been hearing cases that directly challenge Roe v. Wade, which protected abortions before 24 weeks of pregnancy. These cases leave many people wondering if the new Supreme Court will go as far as to revoke Roe v. Wade, undoing the work of many pro-choice activists, including the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg.