NEW YORK — The highest court in the United States returned to session Monday, and several controversial topics — religion, guns and abortion, among them — top the Supreme Court’s docket.
When it comes to women’s reproductive rights, a case from Mississippi presents a direct challenge to the court’s major decisions over the last half-century that guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion.
Hundreds of thousands of women and their allies took to the streets nationwide over the weekend to protest laws that restrict access to abortions. Vai Subash, a women’s rights activist who helped organize the New York City Women’s March on Saturday, voiced concerns about a woman’s right to choose, especially for women of color.
“They are more likely to have income inequality in our country and to not have access to reproductive health care is simply put inhumane,” she told PIX11 on Monday.
Subash, of East Harlem, said every woman deserves the right to make her own choice. She said the future of all women’s reproductive rights are at risk now that the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court was back in session.
“A women’s right to choose is her personal decision and for any justice sitting in the Supreme Court to think their religious beliefs should impact that is ridiculous,” said Subash.
Since 1973, under Roe V. Wade, abortion has been legal nationwide. In its new term, the Supreme Court will consider a case out of Mississippi that could have a huge impact on a woman’s right to an abortion.
Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said if the court rules in favor of Mississippi’s law, abortions would be banned in a dozen states and restricted in about a dozen others.
“The Mississippi case is a case that could decimate if not completely eradiate the constitutional right of a woman to get an abortion,” said Lieberman.
As one of the nation’s largest defenders of civil rights, Lieberman said New York will always be a safe haven for women’s health needs.
“They are not in any way, shape, or form challenging whether New York has the right to protect a woman’s right to choose,” said Lieberman. “Nobody can tell New York that we can’t respect women. We can, we do and we will.”
The highest court’s decision will follow last month’s ruling in Texas, which bans abortions after six weeks, before some women know if they’ve conceived. The law offers no exceptions for rape or incest.
Anti-abortion activists like Lauren Marlowe work to ensure people have the resources available to bring a baby into the world, no matter the circumstances. Marlowe, the Northeast coordinator of Students for Life, said every unborn child deserves a chance at life.
“Roe V. Wade is outdated when it comes to technology and science and ultrasound science and prenatal science, and we’re aware now how the humanity of the preborn and people in the womb, how advanced and developed they are, and their lives matter,” said Marlow. “We want to see abortion made illegal and unthinkable.”
The court will hear arguments about the constitutionality of Mississippi’s law, which bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, on Dec. 1.