July 19, 2021

Appeals Court Grants Rehearing of Missouri Discriminatory Abortion Ban

Last week, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated its ruling which struck down portions of the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act and agreed to hear it once again en banc beginning this month. The Missouri law banned abortions committed purely due to an unborn child's diagnosis with Down syndrome, or the baby's sex or race. The law also had tiered abortion restrictions at eight, 14, 18, and 20 weeks. The law was written so that if a court blocked one of those restrictions, the next tier would come into effect.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt had already appealed this case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the Eighth Circuit's decision to rehear it overrides that. In Schmitt's appeal to the Supreme Court, he wrote:

“Unborn children with Down syndrome are aborted at epidemic rates, 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.”

This decision may also affect an Arkansas law that could be headed to the Supreme Court. Briefs for the rehearing will be heard on July 23.

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