August 31, 2020

Sept. Court Date Set for Lawsuit Challenging “Missouri Stands For the Unborn Act”

Last week, the date for oral arguments in the pro-abortion challenge to Missouri HB 126, known as the “Missouri Stands For the Unborn Act” was finally set. They will be heard on Sept. 24 in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

HB 126 was signed into law by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on May 24, 2019. The law includes numerous pro-life measures: a parental notification rule for when a child attempts to obtain an abortion; bans against discriminatory abortions based on race, sex, or Down syndrome diagnosis; and a "trigger-clause" designed to outlaw all abortion in the state immediately if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned by the Supreme Court. The law also includes tiered bans of abortion at 14, 18, and 20 weeks gestation. To overturn those aspects of the law, a judge would need to argue that banning abortion at all three of those stages violates Roe v. Wade.

Last year, U.S. District Court Judge Howard Sachs enjoined the ban against aborting children purely because of a Down syndrome diagnosis, as well as the bans against abortion at 14, 18, and 20 weeks gestation. The state appealed Judge Sachs's ruling to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the hearing was heavily delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Justice John Roberts's recent concurring opinion in June Medical LLC v. Russo may have an effect on this case, but those effects are currently subject to speculation.

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