Yesterday we reported Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act; this good, pro-life law was sponsored by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) and passed by the Arkansas Legislature in 2013. It prevents most abortions after the twelfth week of pregnancy if a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Part of the law was struck down by a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the entire Eighth Circuit declined to hear the an appeal of the decision; A.G. Rutledge is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the appeal and uphold and law as constitutional.
Central to the A.G.’s petition of the U.S. Supreme Court is whether or not the “viability rule” derived from Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey needs to be “revisited and overruled.”
The “viability rule” is a significant–albeit arbitrary–judicial principle derived from both rulings, and overruling it would be a major win for protecting human life. Read more →
Today Attorney General Leslie Rutledge petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act, a 2013 law that prevents most abortions after the twelfth week of pregnancy if a fetal heartbeat is detected.
“As the State argues in its petition to the Court, I believe that certiorari should be granted to allow the Court to revisit and overturn the arbitrary viability rule,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas and other States should be allowed to advance their profound interests in defending the life of the unborn, which is exactly what the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act accomplishes.”
The “viability rule” to which A.G. Rutledge refers is the result of U.S. Supreme Court rulings such as Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey; it’s a principle in case-law that makes it harder to regulate abortion practices before the unborn baby reaches the point of “viability,” when the baby can survive outside the womb. And Attorney General Rutledge is correct: The rule is completely arbitrary.
“Viability” is a vague concept, as medical science makes it increasingly more likely babies born prematurely will go on to live normal, healthy lives; ambiguity over when a baby reaches the point of “viability” makes utilization of the “viability rule” difficult.
What’s more, there’s no logical reason to give an unborn baby more or less protection based on how long it would survive outside the womb.
This week U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton called for a full audit of all fetal tissue research supported by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to determine whether there have been violations of the law and how the agency verifies compliance following the release of videos indicating Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the harvesting and sale of the organs of aborted babies.
The Arkansas senators joined more than 30 of their colleagues in signing a letter written by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to HHS Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson urging an audit of third party practices.
The letter reads in part: Read more →