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One year after Dobbs decision...

One year after Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade, key players reflect on impact

By: Anne Summerhays - June 25, 2023

June 24th marked the one year anniversary of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. The case originated in Mississippi.

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Court in Dobbs overturned Roe v. Wade’s finding that the Constitution included protection of abortion and returned to the states the right to make their own abortion policy.

The case arose out of a challenge to a 2018 Mississippi law, the Gestational Age Act, which prevented abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law originated in the Mississippi House under the leadership of outgoing Speaker Philip Gunn, bill sponsor Becky Currie, and current Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson. Gipson was then serving as chairman of the House committee that initially birthed the legislation.

Gunn expressed pride in the members of the Mississippi House of Representatives, who he said “had the courage to stay in the fight for the lives of the unborn.” He added, “even as the courts kept striking down pro-life legislation, Mississippi House members never grew weary of doing good in defending the unborn.”

Gipson said that during his tenure in the House, “we made it our goal every year to take ‘one more step’ in the cause of life.” He said the Gestational Age Act “was the ‘one more step’ it took to overturn Roe v. Wade and to begin to restore a culture of life in America,” and added “no doubt this is the most significant legislation I ever personally worked on.”

Over a dozen states in the country have used their restored policy authority to restrict access to abortions. Mississippi is among them. Following the Dobbs decision, a “trigger” law took effect outlawing most abortions in Mississippi. The Mississippi law provides exceptions to protect the life of the mother and in the case of pregnancy resulting from rape.

According to a report from the  Society of Family Planning, in the six months following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, there were 5,377 fewer abortions per month on average.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves told Magnolia Tribune that he is incredibly proud that Mississippi led the nation to the “greatest conservative victory” in a generation.

“But winning a court case was just the beginning. Now, we set our sights on continuing to implement the New Pro-Life Agenda, fighting for every mom and child in Mississippi, and making our state the easiest in the nation to raise a family,” Governor Reeves said.

“I’ve long said that continuing to build a culture of life and implement the New Pro-life Agenda will not be easy and it will not be free. But it’s the right thing to do for moms and babies, and Mississippi is committed to doing it. That’s why I’m so proud of the work our state has done over the last year to accomplish that mission.”

Reeves was Lt. Governor when the Gestational Age Act passed the Mississippi Senate.

The man who signed the bill into law, former Governor Phil Bryant, told Magnolia Tribune that he was “proud to sign the bill that began the process of challenging the Roe decision. Bryant continued, “the end result was the protection of millions of innocent lives. God certainly had his hand in this journey.”

What Now?

Attorney General Lynn Fitch inherited a lawsuit challenging the Gestational Age Act when she came into office in January of 2020. Her office managed the ongoing litigation all the way up to the Supreme Court, where Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart successfully argued the case.

To mark the one year anniversary, General Lynn Fitch, in cooperation with Her PLAN, Heartbeat International, and eight of her fellow Attorneys General, is leading a multi-state donation drive to support more than 60 pregnancy centers across the country. Fitch said in the Dobbs decision, the Supreme Court provided a great opportunity. She expressed pride in the idea that Mississippi quickly embraced “the chance to both empower women and promote life.” 

“In the months following the Dobbs decision, Mississippi extended postpartum Medicaid coverage, streamlined foster care policies, increased access to quality, affordable childcare and enhanced enforcement of child support policies, and much more,” Fitch said. “These are just a few of our first steps. In the coming year, we will continue to work with the Legislature to pass even more initiatives to empower women and promote life.”

Current Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann was Secretary of State at the time the Gestational Age Act was signed into law. He recently received the endorsement of Mississippi Right to Life. Hosemann has emphasized the importance of supporting women and children after birth. “We also have a record of supporting our children and families. Mississippi led in overturning Roe and our leadership on this issue will not end at birth,” said Hosemann.

Hosemann’s House counterpart, Gunn, also made the point that the Legislature acted post-Dobbs to protect life after birth. “When Dobbs came down, instead of resting on their laurels, members of the Mississippi House worked to strengthen the cuture of life with passage of about 10 more pro-life, pro-framily laws that were developed by the Speaker’s Commision on Life. I could not be more proud of them.”

Erin Kate Goode, Executive Director of the Metro-area Center for Pregnancy Choices, said a year after the Dobbs decision, they “rejoice in the precious lives that have been saved.”

“We are hopeful for the future and excited that the overturn of Roe v. Wade has cultivated such a widespread focus on the need to love and support both the woman and the child holistically and practically,” Goode added. “We have seen so many people and organizations rise up compassionately to meet these very real needs. We also see firsthand, however, that the abortion industry has not stopped profiting from manipulation touted as “female empowerment.” 

“At CPC Metro Area, we know that the desperation for hope and help is even greater, and we are working now, more than ever, strategically to address the demand for abortion through education, comprehensive care, and ongoing personalized support,” Goode continued.

Anja Baker, Her PLAN Mississippi Coordinator, said Her PLAN celebrates the tens of thousands of unborn lives saved and mothers helped one year into the Dobbs era. 

“Nearly 3,000 pregnancy centers – over 30 of them here in Mississippi – and the growing number of maternity homes nationwide faithfully serve both mother and child, offering real choices and a community of support,” Baker stated. “Her PLAN is proud to stand alongside these organizations as they welcome both mother and child with open arms and practical support. As we celebrate one year of Dobbs, the pro-life safety net in Mississippi and across the nation stands ready to continue empowering moms and their babies to thrive.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks state-level abortion legislation, in 2022 alone, state legislators introduced 563 provisions to restrict access to abortion, and 50 of those restrictions were signed into law the same year.

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: