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What You Should Know About the Supreme Court Decision on Abortion

Are you prepared for the Supreme Court ruling in the Mississippi abortion case?

A once-in-a-generation opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade

Right now, the Supreme Court is considering the most important abortion case in a generation: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This case is an incredible opportunity to affirm life, shift abortion jurisprudence, and send the question of abortion back to the states. For the pro-life movement, this case could be the culmination of nearly 50 years of focused work to overturn Roe and protect the unborn.

What is the Mississippi abortion case?

In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court is reviewing a Mississippi law titled the “Gestational Age Act” that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation, except in a medical emergency and in cases of severe fetal abnormality. This law replaces the “viability standard” created by Roe. The court is examining whether pre-viability restrictions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.

In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court admitted that the state has a legitimate interest in protecting unborn human life, but concluded that that interest did not become compelling until viability, because at that point the unborn child “has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb.” However, the choice of viability as the point before which a state may not forbid abortion is entirely arbitrary. Even the author of Roe and two authors of Casey’s three-justice plurality have admitted this. When the “viability standard” was initially created in 1973, viability was around 28 weeks, but it is now around 21 weeks. The viability line will keep moving as our modern medicine continues to improve. No Supreme Court decision has ever provided a principled justification for the viability standard.

The Dobbs case provides another chance for the court to overturn the viability standard and affirm a fundamental right to life.

What happens if Roe v. Wade is overturned?

If the Supreme Court makes the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, individual states will be free to make their own decisions on abortion. If Roe is overturned, many states have laws in place that will automatically protect or prohibit abortion access. Other states will almost certainly become contested battlegrounds for control of state legislatures and the governorship in order to pass measures in either direction. Below is an interactive map showing abortion laws currently in place at the state level. Click on a state to get more information.

This map shows a quick summary of current state laws regarding abortion. 

How can churches prepare to serve vulnerable women and children if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade?

The future of Roe v. Wade has yet to be determined, but Christians must begin preparing now to serve vulnerable women and children in a post-Roe world. 

Partner: Churches are uniquely capable and equipped to serve families in crisis, and one of the most effective ways to do this is through a strategic partnership with crisis pregnancy centers. This could mean financial support (which is sorely needed), but it could also mean helping connect the passions, interests, and skills of church members.

Serve: The problem is not a lack of resources; it is connecting the right resources with the people who need them. Churches can mobilize their members to meet needs and provide resources where they are needed most. Although resources are not one-size-fits-all, most crisis pregnancy centers share a need for volunteers with skills such as mental health, language and communication (especially bilingual skills), sewing skills (for blankets, socks, etc.), childcare, GED/ESL opportunities, and admin work.

Pray: Oswald Chambers once said, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.”  Pray for your local pregnancy centers, and let them know. These ministries have been and will continue to serve, love, and minister to women and children, but they are also on the receiving end of much anger, misinformation, and hostility as this Supreme Court case is being considered. The staff and volunteers at pregnancy resource centers are often tired and need our encouragement, prayer, and vocal support. 

As we move toward the possible reality of a post-Roe world, may God help us exemplify the truth and grace of Jesus and uphold the dignity of every life we encounter.

Key Questions About the Supreme Court Decision on Abortion

Click on the questions below to read more. 

In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court is reviewing a Mississippi law titled the “Gestational Age Act” that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation, except in a medical emergency and in cases of severe fetal abnormality. This law replaces the ‘viability standard’ created by Roe. The court is examining whether pre-viability restrictions on elective abortions are unconstitutional. The questions being decided in this case provide an excellent opportunity to overturn major precedents set in the disastrous Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion legal and the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision that expanded abortion access. Simply put, this case could result in abortion no longer being legal nationwide.

In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court admitted that the state has a legitimate interest in protecting unborn human life, but concluded that that interest did not become compelling until viability, because at that point the unborn child “has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb.” However, the choice of viability as the point before which a state may not forbid abortion is entirely arbitrary. Even the author of Roe and two authors of Casey’s three-justice plurality have admitted this. When the “viability standard” was initially created in 1973, viability was around 28 weeks, but it is now around 21 weeks. The viability line will keep moving as our modern medicine continues to improve. No Supreme Court decision has ever provided a principled justification for the viability standard.

While it is impossible to know how the Supreme Court will rule on any case, this case presents a unique opportunity to overturn the precedents set in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The ERLC submitted an amicus brief asking the court to do just that and set a new precedent that respects the dignity of every life. Here is a look at some of the issues raised by the justices.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Dec. 1, 2021. Now that oral arguments are completed, the court will spend the next few months researching and deliberating about this case. The final decision on what could be a watershed case in American jurisprudence will likely come at the end of June 2022 as the court closes its term.

Roe v. Wade” or “Roe”  are terms often heard in the abortion debate. Sometimes this language has been used even as a synonym for abortion itself, but despite its immediate name recognition, many do not actually know what was decided in Roe v. Wade and how that has impacted the right to life in our country. 

Prior to 1973, abortion was illegal in most states with a few restrictively allowing the procedure in certain circumstances. The disastrous Roe v. Wade decision established a national, legal right to abortion, regardless of each state’s laws or desires. This moment marked the birth of the modern pro-life movement that has worked tirelessly for 49 years to protect the lives of the unborn and to educate the public on both the scientific and legal reasons that Roe and the viability standard were wrongly decided.

Click here to read more.

Sometime this summer, the Supreme Court will issue a ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, one of the most monumental abortion cases of the century. Here are six other Supreme Court cases related to abortion you should know about:

  1. Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
  2. Roe v. Wade (1971)
  3. Doe v. Bolton (1973)
  4. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992)
  5. June Medical Services LLC v. Russo (2020)
  6. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (pending)

Click here to read more about these cases.

According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, around 119 million unplanned pregnancies occurred each year between 2015 and 2019. Of those pregnancies, around 61%, or 73 million, ended in abortion. These numbers represent 73 million precious lives lovingly created in the image of God. The fight to save preborn lives like these and see an end to the atrocity of abortion continues around the world, even as several countries are moving to legalize abortion for the first time.

Many countries around the world are seeing abortion legalized for the first time, even as efforts to end abortion in the United States are growing.

Click here to read an overview of some of the countries making moves on both sides of the abortion debate.

Christians believe strongly in the sanctity of human life. It’s woven into the Bible’s narrative, from the very beginning, where we see Moses describe the origin of life in the most descriptive of ways. Most of creation is spoken into existence by the word of the Lord, but the text of Genesis then pauses to draw out the way in which God crafted human bodies and souls. We read that the entire Godhead was involved: Let us make man in our image. The Christian tradition is the only religion in the world that gives such a breathtaking view of humanity. Even cultures that are increasingly antagonistic toward Christianity unconsciously borrow their sense of justice and dignity from the Bible’s vision of what it means to be human. 

The rich theology of the imago Dei changes the way Christians see our neighbors. There are no disposable people in God’s economy. Every human being has dignity and worth. This should shape our posture in the world. It means we should think long and hard about difficult ethical issues and, as redeemed image-bearers, actively advocate for policies that respect the dignity of our fellow image-bearers. We will, of course, disagree on the best approaches toward alleviating the suffering of our neighbors and the feasibility and wisdom of policy proposals, but our disposition toward the vulnerable should be one of advocacy, care, and love.

Click here to read more.

As anticipation builds for the Supreme Court’s decision in the Mississippi abortion case, many people might be wondering what they can do to make their states more pro-life. This case is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the court to overturn the harmful precedents set in Roe and Casey and affirm the fundamental right to life.

There are a number of ways you can work to make your state more pro-life. You can begin by researching what your existing state laws are and how they protect life. There’s likely an existing coalition of pro-life leaders and ministries in your state. It would be beneficial to begin developing relationships with them and learn about opportunities to get plugged in and serve your local communities.

Here are a few suggestions for how to make your state more pro-life from a policy perspective.

 Video Resources For Your Church

What your church should know about the Mississippi abortion case

Chelsea Sobolik explains why this case is so significant and shares more information to help your church understand and pray for this important case.

An update on oral arguments from the Supreme Court

Brent Leatherwood and Chelsea Sobolik joined us live at the Supreme Court after oral arguments to explain what the Dobbs case is about and why it could overturn the disastrous Roe v. Wade decision.

As we prepare for the ruling in this case, we want to be faithful to pray. This free Dobbs prayer guide contains a list of 48 specific prayer requests to guide you, your family, and your church in your prayers over the coming weeks and months.

When you download the prayer guide, we’ll also send you key resources from this page and future updates on this case directly to your inbox.