Mississippi asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for the state of Mississippi urged the Supreme Court on Thursday to overturn Roe v. Wade, taking a more aggressive approach than the one they presented when they asked the court to hear the case a year ago.

The case for overturning the two main decisions that legalized abortion in the U.S. — Roe v. Wade in 1973 and a later case, 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey — is overwhelming, the state said. "The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition," it said.

By ruling that a state may not impose an undue burden on a right to abortion, the Supreme Court has placed itself "at the center of a controversy that it can never resolve."

The state is appealing lower court rulings that struck down a law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law, the Gestational Age Act, would allow later abortions only in medical emergencies or cases of severe fetal abnormality.

When the state asked the court to take up its appeal last year, it said hearing the issues raised in its appeal "do not require the court to overturn either Roe or Casey," adding: "They merely ask the court to reconcile a conflict in its own precedents." But in Thursday's filing, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said the Roe and Casey rulings were "egregiously wrong."

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the state's brief "reveals the extreme and regressive strategy, not just of this law, but of the avalanche of abortion bans and restrictions that are being passed across the country."

"Their goal is for the Supreme Court to take away our right to control our own bodies and our own futures — not just in Mississippi, but everywhere," she said.

The court agreed in May to hear the case, which will be argued in the fall, most likely in November or December.