Much of the nation is collectively holding its breath until the Supreme Court issues its decision in the most consequential abortion rights case since Roe v. Wade in 1973.

On Wednesday, the high court justices heard oral argument in a case from Mississippi where the state’s only licensed abortion facility challenged a law banning abortion after 15 weeks as unconstitutional. As Supreme Court scholar Morgan Marietta writes in his story for us, “the six conservative justices who hold the majority in the highest court seemed divided. Would they overturn the core right to abortion entirely or would they allow abortion to be limited by the states to the early stages of pregnancy?”

Marietta, who teaches political science at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, provides a pocket history of how Roe was decided in 1973, analyzes the ruling itself and then proposes that the current justices may choose a third direction for their ruling. Many readers will already understand the stakes of this case; Marietta’s story will help you understand the legal arguments and concepts underpinning what might happen next.

Also today:

Naomi Schalit

Senior Editor, Politics + Society

Will Justices give a green light to states to decide on abortion? Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Supreme Court signals shift on abortion – but will it strike down Roe or leave it to states to decide when ‘personhood’ occurs?

Morgan Marietta, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Arguments in a case that could fundamentally alter a woman’s right to abortion were heard at the Supreme Court. Justices’ questions suggest that Roe v. Wade is on shaky ground.

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