In September 2021, Mississippi’s chief legal officer sat down for an interview with Pro-Life Weekly, a Catholic television programme featuring anti-abortion activists.
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Lynn Fitch looked how she almost always does during public appearances: dyed-blonde hair blow-dried straight and neat, tasteful jewellery and a monochrome suit, this time in powder blue.
The attorney general was there to celebrate. The United States Supreme Court had just announced the date it would hear her state’s challenge to Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that has, for the nearly 50 years since, served as a nationwide guarantee to abortion access.
The case, Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, centres on a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest. Under Ms Fitch’s direction, the state asked the Supreme Court to uphold the law and slash the landmark Roe v Wade decision in the process. A ruling is expected this month. A leaked draft suggests it is likely that Mississippi’s ban will be upheld, paving the way for other states to also outlaw abortion.
Ms Fitch – who declined to be interviewed – had argued that overturning Roe v Wade would be “game-changing”, “uplifting” women by eliminating what she described as a false choice between family and career.
“Fifty years ago, for professional women, they wanted you to make a choice. Now you don’t have to,” she said on Pro-Life Weekly. “You have the option in life to really achieve your dreams, your goals, and you can have those beautiful children as well.”
If she wins the case, and Roe v Wade falls, some 40 million women may lose access to abortion, pro-choice advocates warn. It could also make Ms Fitch, a single working parent of three, a Republican superstar and poster-child for her own argument: modern women don’t need abortion to have it all.