Shaheen, Hassan Join Effort to Urge SCOTUS to Protect Reproductive Rights by Upholding Roe and Rejecting Mississippi’s Unconstitutional Law

September 21, 2021

**48 Democrats in the Senate and 188 in the House file a bicameral amicus brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization** 

(Manchester, NH) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) yesterday joined a bicameral amicus brief in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, urging the Supreme Court to uphold nearly 50 years of precedent in Roe v. Wade and protect the constitutional right to abortion care. The amicus brief was led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in the Senate.  

After the Court refused to block the dangerous, cruel abortion ban in Texas from going into effect, Dobbs represents yet another case that could undermine nearly 50 years of precedent and potentially overturn RoeDobbs is a challenge from Mississippi’s sole remaining abortion provider against H.B. 1510, the state’s extreme law banning all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape and incest, and only narrow, inadequate exceptions for a medical emergency or in cases of a severe fetal abnormality.  

The law is blatantly unconstitutional under Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which held that individuals have the right to decide whether or not to be pregnant prior to fetal viability. In 2019, the Fifth Circuit upheld a lower court decision halting the Mississippi law’s implementation.  

“This Court has made clear that abortion bans like H.B. 1510 are unconstitutional because they violate the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy before viability; the decision below should be affirmed on that basis alone. But as a matter of public policy, it is also important to recognize that laws like H.B. 1510 do not merely encroach on individual liberty and autonomy; they also do so in a way that disproportionately imperils the health and economic security of vulnerable populations,” wrote the lawmakers. 

The lawmakers stressed that the only thing that has changed since Casey and Roe were decided is the composition of the Court—which is not a compelling reason to re-examine Roe. Therefore, the members emphasized that overturning Roe would represent a disregard for settled law, our legal system and the Constitution.  

“Respect for precedent—a fundamental principle that is essential to our legal system, the legitimacy of judicial and legislative institutions, and the rule of law—compels affirmance of the decision below,” the lawmakers added. “…Adherence to Roe and Casey is even more necessary to protect the settled expectations and reliance interests of multiple generations of individuals who have rightly understood the freedom to decide to terminate a pregnancy before viability as a firmly established constitutional right, and who have never known a world without Roe’s constitutional guarantee.” 

Read the amicus brief HERE.  

Shaheen and Hassan are unrelenting advocates for women’s reproductive rights, including by most recently sounding the alarm on the New Hampshire Executive Council’s recent vote to terminate contracts for family planning providers across the state. Shaheen and Hassan and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) hosted a press event yesterday with representatives from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Equality Health Center and Lovering Health Center to discuss the dangerous consequences of the council’s vote. That followed the delegation’s letter to the Biden administration on Friday calling for the swift distribution of supplemental assistance directly to providers impacted by the Executive Council’s decision. 

The Executive Council’s vote is particularly egregious as it follows years of the Trump administration’s attacks on women’s reproductive health, most notably, President Trump’s implementation of the “Title X Gag Rule,” which has shut out the majority of New Hampshire family planning providers from receiving federal grants. In June, Senator Shaheen sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra urging him to provide support to New Hampshire family planning providers who will lose state funding under the New Hampshire budget bill. This support is critically needed to help these providers bridge the gap in funding until the Biden administration can complete its action to reverse the Trump administration’s rule.   

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