Supreme Court overturns Roe V. Wade, decision brings split reactions

Published 1:30 pm Friday, June 24, 2022

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch has taken a step to activate a law that will ban most abortions in the state.

The 2007 state law says the Mississippi attorney general must publish an administrative notice if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

The court overturned Roe on Friday in a case that originated in Mississippi. Fitch, a Republican, published the notice Monday.

Republican U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith issued a statement the day of the Supreme Court’s decision, praising the justices’ actions and calling Roe v. Wade a “terrible stain” on the nation.

Roe v. Wade has been a terrible stain on our nation for too long.  I am grateful to God for His divine guidance in the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs.

“By effectively overturning Roe v. Wade, the United States will step away from the notion that aborting a baby must be allowed on-demand and up until the birth,” said Hyde-Smith. “… The Dobbs decision stands as an affirmation that states can take action to protect both the preborn and their mothers.”

The law says that 10 days after publication of the attorney general’s notice, Mississippi will ban most abortions except for pregnancies that endanger the woman’s life or those caused by rape reported to law enforcement.

Don Mason, attorney and former research professor at the Univerity of Mississippi School of Law, said he both saddened and disgusted by the decision.

“[I feel] sorrow also for the virtually complete ruination of respect for the Court, which has now proved that it is a merely political instrument of the most reactionary elements of our society rather than the august judicial body we expect to resolve disputes in a fair and thoughtful manner that serves the best interests of all our citizens,” said Mason. “The Court majority is bringing dishonor on our courts and our entire legal profession as it renders our country such disservice.”

“And [I feel] disgust for how the reactionary members of this Court have cavalierly trampled upon such well-settled precedent and the rule of law in their ideological crusade to, for the first time, strip away a fundamental right rather than recognize one, doing so simply because of their narrow ideological interpretation of our Constitution, our history, and our traditions,” he said.

Hyde-Smith asserts that the decision does not completely outlaw abortion but it will depart significantly from Roe in that people, through elected leaders, will guide each state’s approach to abortion rather than have a nationwide policy.

“As we move forward as a nation, I believe greater attention should be paid to the needs of pregnant women and their babies,” she said.

Father Shoffner of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church said Christian duty is more than calling for Roe to be repealed.

“Obviously I’m glad but it doesn’t make it any easier,” Shoffner said. “Christians are already under scrutiny with the world and when people advocate for a position, you really have to be all in for it, but being pro-life is more than going on a march, saying you’re against one issue and that you don’t really care about the other issue.”

Communities have to be better and more intentional about taking care of others whether it means giving of yourself and your time, Shoffner said.

“It’s going to require a lot of witness on my people and the other Christian people, people of goodwill that support this decision and people that don’t to really find ways to support all parties of an unplanned pregnancy or people who find themselves with a child they can’t support with resources and advocacy,” he said. “From making sure that businesses pass policies that take a welcoming stance towards families and to making sure that a university student will have concessions made to them if they have to bring a child to class or that facilities will be made available to them.”

Diane Derzis is the owner of Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization. She has said the clinic will close when the law takes effect. With the 10-day timeline, the law should take effect July 7.

The clinic has continued to see patients since the court’s ruling on Friday.

In Tennessee, a so-called trigger law will go into effect that bans all abortions in the state except when necessary to prevent death or “serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

Doctors could be charged with a felony for providing an abortion under this law.

It’s unclear if the trigger law conflicts with the 2020 law banning most abortions at about six weeks.

The state’s attorney general, a Republican, has not publicly weighed in. Meanwhile, Republicans are expected to continue to have supermajority control after this year’s midterm elections. Reproductive rights activists say they will direct patients seeking an abortion to clinics in Illinois if Roe v. Wade is overturned, or to Florida, which would ban abortions at 15 weeks.

North Carolina and Virginia could also be options for women in eastern Tennessee.

Mason said the Supreme Court has indicated that it won’t stop with Roe. In Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion, he makes allusions to his stance against 1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut which established the right for married couples to buy and use contraceptives, 2003’s Lawrence v. Texas which established the right for consenting adults to engage in same-sex intimacy and 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges that established the right for same-sex couples to marry.

“We must come together, women and men of all ages, all education levels, and all ethnic backgrounds, to mobilize the majority of voters to understand the urgency of the situation and to vote at every opportunity to help move our country back to the more compassionate, higher moral ground on which decisions regarding terminations of pregnancies are to be shared by women and girls and their health care providers,” Mason said.