September 25, 2020

8th Circuit Hears Challenges to Arkansas and Missouri Pro-Life Laws

photo credit: Bill Oxford / Unsplash
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in cases about pro-life laws in both Arkansas and Missouri this week.

On Wednesday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge argued to a three-judge panel from the 8th circuit that it should lift an injunction blocking the enforcement of three pro-life laws in her state. One law prohibits abortions on unborn children who have reached a gestational age of 18 weeks. The second bans abortions in cases when the decision to abort is made solely because the unborn child was diagnosed with Down syndrome. The third law requires doctors who perform abortions to be board-certified or board-eligible OB-GYNs.

A different three-judge panel from the 8th Circuit heard arguments for and against a Missouri pro-life law on Thursday. Known as the "Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act," HB 126 takes several actions to save the lives of the unborn. Unfortunately, it also had an injunction placed against its enforcement. The protections provided by the Missouri law include a ban against aborting children after 20 weeks gestation; a parental notification requirement for minors seeking abortions; bans against discriminatory abortions based on an unborn child's race, sex, or Down syndrome diagnosis; and a trigger clause which would cause abortion to be immediately banned in the state of Missouri if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

It is still unknown when the judges will give a ruling on the arguments for either of these cases.

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