Anti-abortion activists gather at the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., on January 29. The demonstrators rallied on the 48th anniversary of the court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in all 50 states. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo
May 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear a major abortion case concerning a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks.
The high court indicated that it will take up the case in its next term that begins in the fall. The case, Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization, was included on an order list released by the court Monday.
The case could pose the first major challenge in years to Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that legalized abortion nationwide prior to "viability" of the fetus, or after about 24 weeks.
Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, adopted in 2018, makes exceptions for medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormality. It does not make exceptions for rape or incest.
A federal judge in Mississippi struck down the law in late 2018 and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling.
Supreme Court justices had delayed a decision for months on whether to take up the case.
The court's decision Monday comes as some states are adopting more restrictive abortion laws.
Such laws banning abortions at the onset of a fetal heartbeat have been passed this year in South Carolina and Idaho. Arkansas and Oklahoma have approved near-total abortion bans this year, and Montana banned the procedure at 20 weeks.
None of the legislation has taken effect due to court actions or recent approval.
Over the past four years, the Supreme Court has struck down laws limiting access to abortions. In June, it rejected a Louisiana law that required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. In 2016, the court struck down a similar law in a Texas case.
Members of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the court in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Seated, from left to right, are Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Standing, from left to right, are Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. Pool Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo