On December 1, 2021, the country’s highest court heard a challenge to Mississippi’s abortion prohibition. The Supreme Court case on abortion began on December 1 and continued for two days before the justices announced their decision. Attorney Julie Rikelman represented those who opposed the state ban on abortions after 15 weeks into a pregnancy during the hearing. On Tuesday, December 31, 2021, the Supreme Court case regarding Roe v. Wade will be heard for the first time in nearly half a century.
The stakes are high in the Supreme Court’s consideration of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which is widely seen as a “transformative” case that will determine whether or not women have a constitutional right to choose abortion. Many people believe it’s an either/or situation with no middle ground.
The defenders of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are asking the Supreme Court to reconsider, in addition to 1973’s Roe v. Wade, which established that abortion is legal throughout pregnancy and up until birth; 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which ruled that unmarried women who want an abortion do not need their husbands’ consent; and 2003’s Stenberg v Royalty , in which the court found that requiring parental consent for a minor was unconstitutional because it constituted an “undue burden.” If passed, it could see millions of women lose abortion access.
Until Mississippi’s 2018 law, which prohibited abortion after “15 weeks” of pregnancy except in cases of medical emergency and severe fetal abnormality, all court judgments have been based on the Roe v. Wade decision.
On Wednesday, July 24, Julie Rikelman represented Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Who is attorney Julie Rikelman?
She was born on June 16, 1972, in Brooklyn, New York, and is now 49 years old. Rikelman has served as the Senior Director of the US Litigation Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights since 2012. She holds an LLB from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College.
She is a seasoned pro who has devoted her career to reproductive rights. She is best recognized for her victory in the 2020 major abortion case, June Medical Services v Russo, in which she successfully argued against the Louisiana “law that requires any doctor who performs abortions to have active admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.” She worked for two outstanding federal judges. She previously clerked for the Honorable Morton I. Greenberg of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Honorable Dana A. Fabe of the Alaska Supreme Court.
In addition, until recently, 51% of American women used medical procedures to end their pregnancy (at a rate of 14.6 per 1000), far higher than in the rest of the world. In defending the right of adolescent girls in Alaska and Florida to make their own reproductive health decisions independently of their parents in 2003, she said that they have the same rights as adult women do under current law.
Rikelman is notoriously private about her personal life
Her alleged husband is a lawyer she met at law school, according to reports. Since she keeps her personal life private, his identity is unknown. They reportedly share two daughters, age 12 and 10.