Monday, November 29, 2021
Here’s a measure of how far American women have progressed since 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade: Then, no woman had ever been elected attorney general of a U.S. state, and none would be for another dozen years. Now, Mississippi’s attorney general is defending the constitutionality of her state’s law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. Earlier this year Lynn Fitch appointed Solicitor General Scott G. Stewart, who on Wednesday will make the state’s case to the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
“Everything has changed in the last 50 years,” says Ms. Fitch, 60, a Republican who was elected in 2019, in an interview. “Our laws are much different. The culture is different today than it was 50 years ago. And certainly the workforce and the workplace has changed.” That’s part of the reason the justices should uphold Mississippi’s law, the state argues.
Roe, as Mississippi notes in its brief to the court, “suggested that, without abortion, unwanted children could ‘force upon’ women ‘a distressful life and future.’ ” Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) asserted that the “ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.” Mississippi disagrees: “Modern options regarding and views about childbearing have dulled concerns on which Roe rested.”
Ms. Fitch elaborates. “Maternity leave is very commonplace, where it wasn’t 50 years ago,” she says. Paternity leave “was unheard of 50 years ago.” A 2020 Society for Human Resource Management survey found that 55% of employers in the U.S. offer paid maternity leave and 45% offer paid paternity leave.
I find it very difficult to believe that SCOTUS will overrule Roe v. Wade.