Mississippi's Republican governor said Sunday that the Supreme Court's recent decision to take up a challenge to a restrictive abortion measure in his state is a "vehicle" for the high court to revisit Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortions rights case he called a "mistake."
"The question is not are you going to overturn Roe v. Wade, the question is: The science has changed and therefore it makes sense for the court to review their decisions from the past and this is a vehicle in which for them to do it," Gov. Tate Reeves told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" when asked if he hoped the Supreme Court would use the Mississippi case to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide prior to viability.
"Let me just tell you that for people such as myself that are pro-life, I believe that the Supreme Court made a mistake in the 1970s," he added. "But that's not the issue at stake that is before the court, hopefully when the arguments are heard sometime in the fall."
The justices agreed last month to take up the challenge to Mississippi's law, revisiting an issue that still deeply divides the country some 50 years after the Roe v. Wade decision, and with a ruling potentially coming in the middle of the 2022 midterm elections.
Signed in 2018 by then-Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, the law bans most abortions after 15 weeks and makes exceptions only for medical emergencies or cases in which there is a "severe fetal abnormality," but not for instances of rape or incest. A federal judge in Mississippi struck down the law in November 2018, and the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling in December 2019.
The Mississippi case will be the third major abortion case acted on by the court this year as the high court has expressed interest in considering abortion restrictions.
In March, the high court agreed to decide next term whether Kentucky's Republican attorney general can defend a controversial abortion-related law that had been struck down by a lower court, keeping the legal fight going. And in the final days of Trump's presidency, the justices in January granted his administration's request to reinstate long-standing restrictions for patients seeking to obtain a drug used for abortions early in pregnancy -- with the three liberals dissenting in a potential preview of a new chapter in the court's rulings on the procedure.
The FDA under President Joe Biden has since suspended the in-person dispensing requirement during the pandemic.