The Supreme Court takes up the legal fight over abortion, again

A crowd of people holding signs on the state Capitol steps
A large crowd of abortion opponents gathered outside the Minnesota Capitol for the annual March for Life event on Jan. 22, 2020.
Tim Pugmire | MPR News

The tug of war over abortion rights is headed back to the Supreme Court.

The court will review Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and will consider whether state laws banning abortions in the period before a fetus is considered viable outside the womb are unconstitutional.

Just last year, the court ruled that a Louisiana law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals to be unconstitutional.

That ruling came after President Trump appointed two justices to the court, creating a 5-4 conservative majority. But Chief Justice John Roberts broke from his conservative colleagues and instead concurred with the four liberal justices on the decision, upholding the precedent of Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Since then, the ideology of the court has shifted considerably. The split between conservative and liberal justices flipped to 6-3 after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to fill her seat just days before the 2020 election.

Thursday, a legal historian and a journalist covering the Supreme Court joined host Kerri Miller for a conversation about how the court might approach this case and what it could mean for the future of Roe v. Wade and abortion in America.


  • Adam Liptak covers the Supreme Court for the New York Times.

  • Mary Ziegler is the Stearns Weaver Miller professor at Florida State University College of Law and the author of "Abortion in America: A Legal History, Roe v. Wade to the Present.”

Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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