While the Missouri case will be appealed to a higher court, the question still remains-do states have the authority to enact 20-week or eight-week abortion bans at all? According to Judge Sachs's finding they do not. His view is that the Supreme Court's consistent refusal to hear appeals in cases where such laws have been struck down by lower courts amounts to a prohibition by precedent.
Twenty-week bans in states like Arkansas, Arizona and Idaho have all been subject to legal injunction, and the Supreme Court has declined to hear appeals in those cases.
As a result, have called for the Court to reconsider its standards for examining state laws.
Schroer told CNA that while the Court has talked about the "viability" of the baby - namely, its ability to survive outside the womb, it should instead consider the viability of the pregnancy - including cases where a baby might not survive outside the womb, but has a heartbeat, or can feel pain.
Similarly, advancing medical understanding of life inside the womb has led some judges to press for Roe itself to be reconsidered entirely.
A 2018 ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court in Jessie Livell Phillips v. State of Alabama recognized the personhood of unborn children "with value and dignity equal to that of all persons," and specifically called for the repeal of Roe.
"Return the power to the states to fully protect the most vulnerable among us," the court's ruling said.
Others have argued that the Casey decision, and the standards by which state regulations of abortions are judged, were handed down almost 30 years ago. Since then, advances in medical technology have dramatically changed the odds for premature babies outside the womb and advanced society's understanding of human life in utero through ultrasound machines and other means.
Pro-life advocates and legislators argue that a thirty-year old standard of "viability" is simply no longer relevant.
"Medical advancements have made it possible for infants to live at far earlier stages of development than before," Lucia Silecchia, a law professor at the Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law, told CNA.
If these advancements continue, the "viability" test will become "obsolete," she said, and "will force us to confront the subjectivity in denying protection to the very young based on their development or location."
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Within the court, Justice Clarence Thomas appeared to call for a new judicial standard in a recent concurring opinion issued in June, when the court refused to hear an appeal after Alabama's ban on "dismemberment" abortions was overturned by the lower courts.
Thomas wrote that the Constitution allows for states to outlaw such "gruesome" abortions as Alabama did but, because of Casey's "undue burden" standard, the law had to be struck down as an unlawful obstacle to women accessing abortion.
Calling the standard "demonstrably erroneous," Thomas called the case "a stark reminder that our abortion jurisprudence has spiraled out of control."
Thomas said what other federal judges critical of the Court's abortion jurisprudence have argued-that the Courts have far transgressed their lawful bounds and areas of expertise in abortion jurisprudence and have taken away the authority of states to regulate abortions, instead themselves deciding when unborn children are "viable" and when they are not protected by the law.
Whether the court is willing to reconsider this, however, remains to be seen. But as more states pass legislation aimed at limiting abortion in the light of new medical understanding, pressure and expectation continue to mount.