By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the Texas abortion law that is considered the most restrictive in the nation. The hearing will be closely watched here in Minnesota and across the country.

With President Donald Trump’s three appointees to the Supreme Court, conservatives have a solid majority. Abortion rights opponents believe this is their best chance in decades to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

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The Supreme Court hearing will focus on the Texas abortion law which virtually bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and awards $10,000 to any citizen who sues someone who made an abortion possible. Even someone driving a woman to an abortion clinic could be sued.

And there is more. On Dec. 1, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to another restrictive abortion law, this one from Mississippi.

Both the Texas and Mississippi cases will be closely watched in Minnesota. Planned Parenthood of the North Central States is based in the Twin Cities, and has 29 health centers in five states. Planned Parenthood says 97% of their services do not involve abortions.

Lauren Gilchrist, of the local Planned Parenthood, was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning, and so was constitutional law Professor David Schultz.

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“People should be very, very concerned. We have really entered a new chapter for reproductive rights in this country and the fundamental right to abortion is at stake,” Gilchrist said.

“This is probably the closest challenge to abortion rights we have seen in the United States since Roe vs. Wade was first adopted,” Schultz said.

Minnesotans Citizens Concerned for Life released a statement saying, “Texas is saving unborn lives and supporting women at the same time, and the Supreme Court should allow them to do so.”

Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that the Supreme Court is often unpredictable. That was certainly the case in the original Roe vs. Wade case decision in 1973, when a majority of Republican appointees surprised everyone by affirming a woman’s right to an abortion.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Mike Augustyniak every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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Esme Murphy