EFEBy Lucia Leal Washington

The questions and comments from the justices as the United States Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on a challenge to a Mississippi law barring most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy appeared to signal that the conservative majority will allow the controversial measure to stand.

What remains unclear, however, is whether five of the six conservative justices on the nine-member court are ready to take the additional step of overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal nationwide.

The law enacted by Mississippi in 2018 would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks with exceptions only for medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormality.

Lower federal courts sided with Jackson Women's Health Organization, the state's only abortion clinic, by finding that the legislation violated the principles laid down in Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court's 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.