On Thursday, 22 state attorneys general signed an amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court supporting Arkansas’ law that bans abortions performed because the unborn child may have Down Syndrome.

In 2019 the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 619 prohibiting abortion of an unborn baby solely because the child has Down Syndrome.

At the time, Family Council estimated that Act 619 could save upwards of 100 unborn children in Arkansas every single year.

In response, the ACLU and the state’s only surgical abortion facility sued the State of Arkansas to have the law struck down. Federal courts subsequently blocked Arkansas from enforcing the law.

Even though a three-judge panel from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law should remain blocked, two of the judges asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review its precedent on pro-life laws that protect unborn children — like those who may have Down Syndrome — from abortion.

In April Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the nation’s highest court to take up the case.

Now 22 other states have joined the fight to support this good law. The states are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Utah
  • West Virginia

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch writes that Arkansas’ law advances at least eight compelling state interests:

  • Protecting the entire class of persons with Down Syndrome from being targeted for elimination solely because of disability;
  • Eradicating historical animus and bias against persons with Down Syndrome;
  • Safeguarding the integrity of the medical profession by preventing doctors from abandoning their traditional role as healers to become the killers of disabled populations;
  • Drawing a clear boundary against additional eugenic practices targeted at disabled persons and others;
  • Countering the stigma that eugenic abortion currently imposes on persons with disabilities;
  • Ensuring that the existing Down Syndrome community does not become starved of resources for research and care for individuals with Down Syndrome;
  • Protecting against the devaluation of all human life inherent in any decision to target a person for elimination based on an immutable characteristic; and
  • Fostering the diversity of society and protecting society from the incalculable loss that would occur if people with Down Syndrome were eliminated.

Many people are closely watching this court case, because it has the potential to reshape how federal judges treat state abortion laws. It could give the U.S. Supreme Court an opportunity to reverse or amend past rulings like Planned Parenthood v. Casey or June Medical Services v. Russo.

This is an opportunity for Arkansas Attorney General Rutledge and her team to win a big, pro-life victory in court that could help save the lives of unborn children in Arkansas and across the nation.

You can download the brief here.