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Will Roe v. Wade be overturned? Law professor weighs in

Oral arguments on Wednesday prompted protests from both sides of the aisle, including one from pro-choice activists in St. Pete.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday on a case that could make abortion no longer a constitutional right. 

The decision is over a Mississippi law that could overrule Roe v. Wade. The state's law bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks.

The chances of the Supreme Court overruling the nearly 50-year-old case is likely, said Professor Robyn Powell, visiting assistant professor at Stetson University College of Law.

"Roe v. Wade is really on the chopping block," Powell said.

Powell said that's tied to having a conservative majority at the Supreme Court after the passing of liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She said the timing of the case being heard is intentional given the six-to-three majority.

The decision is drawing outrage from some activists, including in St. Pete. A protest was held outside the city's judicial building.

"I believe abortion is healthcare, it is a human right, and we need to not overturn this law. It can be detrimental," Ruth Beltran, community organizer said.

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Powell said an overruling would not make abortion illegal and would still let states decide for themselves about its legalities. But, pro-choice activists argue not everyone will have equal access, including more women of color, people with disabilities, or those with no means to travel.

But others argue the nearly 50-year-old case is long overdue, citing life is worth protecting through conception.

Demonstrations from both sides of the aisle took place outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday. 

The wait on a decision comes as more states pass their own laws banning all or most abortions if Roe v. Wade gets overturned.

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Powell said she believes the outcome of this case could set a new precedent for other cases, including contraceptive rights. 

Several states have passed their own laws banning all or most abortions if Roe v. Wade gets overturned. Florida lawmakers have proposed bills that could change women's rights in next month's legislative session. 

A decision from the Supreme Court is not expected until before next summer.