The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated last month’s three-judge panel ruling that struck down portions of the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act (House Bill 126), which banned abortions based on a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, or the baby’s sex or race. It also restricted abortion to below eight weeks and included the restriction of abortion at incremental stages — 14 weeks, 18 weeks, or 20 weeks — if the earlier restrictions were overturned in court. The court granted an en banc rehearing on its own motion.
In June, the three-judge panel ruled that the law would be determined to be unconstitutional and refused to reverse a lower court ruling that blocked the law from taking effect. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in July but then the Eighth Circuit Court decided to rehear the case. His petition to SCOTUS is now moot.
Abortion based on a prenatal diagnosis is a form of modern-day eugenics in which children are sought out through prenatal testing and targeted for death by abortion. Parents consistently face pressure to abort their babies based on a diagnosis such as Down syndrome — and as a result, 67% of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome in the U.S. are aborted.
“Unborn children with Down syndrome are aborted at epidemic rates,” Schmitt’s office wrote to the Supreme Court. “In the face of this genocidal crisis, Missouri and at least 11 other states have enacted laws restricting the eugenic abortion of the disabled, especially those with Down syndrome. In 2019, this Court declined to review the Seventh Circuit’s decision invalidating one of these laws — Indiana’s — because no circuit split yet existed. Since then, a clear and well-developed split of authority has emerged.”
According to National Review, the court’s decision on the Missouri law will affect a similar law in Arkansas which could be headed to the Supreme Court. In April, the Sixth Circuit determined that Ohio could enforce HB 214, which also bans abortion based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome, and in 2018, the Seventh Circuit blocked a similar Indiana law.
Briefs for the rehearing are due by July 23 and from there, oral arguments will be scheduled.
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