BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today, June 24, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Today’s decision overturned the landmark case Roe v. Wade, which recognized nearly 50 years ago that the Constitution does not permit states to prohibit a woman from deciding whether to carry her pregnancy to term.
The decision also overturned Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe almost 30 years ago.
“We knew this was coming, but that doesn’t make it any less painful, less enraging, or less terrifying for the tens of millions of people who stand to lose access to basic, life-saving care. Today, for the first time ever, the Court has taken away a constitutional right – a right that has been recognized for nearly half a century. But in Massachusetts and other states where abortion will remain legal and accessible, we’ll do everything we can to ensure patients from across the country can receive needed care and to support and protect our providers who are offering that care. The majority of Americans want to keep abortion safe and legal, and I’m calling on Congress to do just that by codifying Roe,” said Healey, who is the Democratic nominee for Governor in Massachusetts.
In March 2018, the governor of Mississippi signed into law what was then the strictest abortion ban in the country. Mississippi’s law prohibits abortion at 15 weeks, with few exceptions, even in cases of rape or incest. A federal district court judge struck down the law, stating that Mississippi “chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional…to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling, and Mississippi then sought review in the Supreme Court. The Court originally granted cert on the question of whether all pre-viability bans are unconstitutional.
However, once the merits briefing to the Court began Mississippi argued that Roe should be completely overturned.
In September 2021, AG Healey joined an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court, arguing that a prohibition on abortion prior to viability is plainly unconstitutional, a holding that the Court has repeatedly reaffirmed including in the landmark Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision almost 30 years ago.
The brief argued Mississippi’s ban is unconstitutional under settled law, and that as such, the Court should continue to uphold this well-established constitutional right and precedent.