Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves confirmed Sunday that should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, his state will implement a law banning most abortions. “There is no guaranteed right to abortion” in the U.S. Constitution, the Republican leader asserted.
During a recent appearance on CNN, Reeves spoke about his position on the abortion issue, saying the issue should be left to individual states and that federal law should not legislate on the matter.
In this regard, Reeves welcomed the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments focused on his state’s 15-week abortion ban, which has the potential to limit access to abortion nationwide.
When asked about whether the law would be enforced should Roe v. Wade be overturned, he responded with determination, “That is a yes,” adding, “I’ll do everything I can to protect the lives of those children.”
The Mississippi governor also argued that abortion is not a constitutionally guaranteed right during the interview. Therefore there is no reason for federal legislation to impose this so-called right nationwide, bypassing the interests and ideals of all states.
“If you read the Constitution, in my opinion, there is no guaranteed right to an abortion in our U.S. Constitution,” he continued. “And furthermore, not only is there not a guaranteed right, there’s also nothing in the Constitution that prohibits individual states from enacting their own laws. And after all, that really is what the founding fathers intended—for any issue that is not explicit in the Constitution it should be left to the states and the state legislatures and the democratic process.”
Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a case in which Mississippi is seeking to overturn a lower court ruling blocking the state’s law banning abortions for pregnancies later than 15 weeks gestation.
The Court has not yet ruled on the case, raising concerns on both sides of the rift since the abortion rules could be changed dramatically depending on the justice’s decision.
When the Court rules, it could reject Mississippi’s 15-week ban because it goes against the old Roe legislation, which would mean that the situation would remain as it is today, although setting a new precedent that takes away the authority of individual states to establish their regulations on the matter.
However, the more conservative composition of the Court, 6-3 since the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, maintains the hope among conservatives and pro-life sectors that this time the Court could validate the Mississippi legislation, which would imply going against the Roe v. Wade ruling.
The hope of conservatives is also supported by the fact that the Court has agreed to hear Reeves’ case so close to and opposed to Roe could indicate its willingness to reshape precedent.
Beyond hopes, nothing is assured yet, nor is it clear how willing the members of the Court are to change the current situation since the Court needs only four justices to agree to hear a case and five to issue a majority decision.
The ideal situation for pro-life sectors would be the total repeal of Roe, which would allow the matter to return to state legislatures, which, following the national Constitution, is the most appropriate democratic way to regulate access to abortion.
According to Reeves, after hearing the Supreme Court arguments last week and judging by the conservative ideological line of the majority of the justices, he believes the pro-life movement will win a significant victory when the Supreme Court issues its ruling on the Mississippi case.
“This has been a watershed moment in American history over the last week, as this case that many of us in the pro-life movement have hoped would come before the court for many years,” the governor told CNN.