WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception?”

That’s the question Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked as the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a Mississippi case that could have nationwide implications for abortion.

Sotomayor focused her questions on whether the Supreme Court can survive the appearance of political bias in this decision over abortion rights now that there isa a 6-3 conservative majority.

Attorney Julie Rickleman and the US Solicitor General argued against Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.

“This case is about 50 years of precedent that women’s basic equality and ability to make decisions that are fundamental to their lives are at stake,” Rickleman argued. She said women aren’t truly equal under the law if they can be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

The landmark cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey established that states can’t ban abortion before a fetus is viable, around 24 weeks.

But Scott Stewart, arguing on behalf of the State of Mississippi said, “Roe vs Wade and Planned Parenthood vs Casey haunt our country.”

Stewart tried to convice the justices those cases were wrongly decided and should be overturned. “Nowhere else does this court recognize a right to end a human life,” he said.

Chief Justice John Roberts seemed open to upholding Mississippi’s abortion ban.

“I’d like to focus on the 15-week ban because that’s not a dramatic departure from viability,” Roberts said.

If the court overturns Roe v Wade, many states already have so-called trigger laws on the books to ban abortions.