Key excerpts from SCOTUS hearing on Mississippi abortion case

Justice Saumel Alito grilled a pro-choice lawyer during oral arguments in a major abortion case Wednesday over whether using viability as the threshold for when a state can ban abortion is a valid standard.

“What would you say to the argument that has been made many times by people who are pro-choice and pro-life, that the line really doesn’t make any sense — that it is, as Justice Blackman himself described it, arbitrary?” Alito asked Center for Reproductive Rights counsel Julie Rikelman.

Alito argued that a woman has the same interest in terminating a pregnancy after the viability line is crossed and that, “the fetus has an interest in having a life” both before and after viability.

“In some people’s view it doesn’t, your honor” Rikelman replied. “It is principled because in ordering the interests at stake, the court had to set a line between conception and birth.”

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