Attorney General Rutledge Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Review Arkansas Law Barring Abortion Based on Down Syndrome

The following is a press release from Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office.

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that held the Constitution guarantees a right to selective abortion of children with Down syndrome. In January, the Eighth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s order that blocked Arkansas’s law prohibiting abortions that are performed solely on the basis of Down syndrome. Attorney General Rutledge’s petition asks the Supreme Court to reverse the Eighth Circuit.

“The Constitution does not require Arkansas to permit discrimination-by-abortion against Americans with Down syndrome,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Through my personal friendships, I know that while individuals with Down syndrome may have an extra chromosome, they also have extra love and joy they share unconditionally, and I will not stand by while God’s gifts are exterminated as has been done in other countries.”

In 2019, Arkansas lawmakers passed Act 619, the Down Syndrome Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act. It prohibits a practitioner from performing an abortion if the woman is seeking the abortion “solely on the basis of” a diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other reason to believe the child has Down syndrome.

Shortly before Act 619 took effect, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and O’Melveny & Myers, an international law firm based in California, sued to block it and other laws. The federal district court in Little Rock took their side and ruled that the Constitution guarantees a right to selectively abort children with Down syndrome.

The Eighth Circuit affirmed, because it felt bound by prior decisions that have misinterpreted the Supreme Court’s precedent. Although the Eighth Circuit ultimately ruled against Arkansas, two of the three judges agreed with Arkansas that the Constitution does not guarantee a right to discriminatory, selective abortions. These two judges asked the Supreme Court to correct its precedent.

The case is called Rutledge v. Little Rock Family Planning Services, No. 20-1434. For a copy of the petition, click here.

House Public Health Committee Passes Two Pro-Life Bills

On Thursday the House Public Health Committee passed two good, pro-life bills.

The first was S.B. 463. This good bill by Sen. Blake Johnson (R – Corning) and Rep. Tony Furman (R – Benton) requires the State of Arkansas to report abortion data to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

It also tightens Arkansas law concerning abortion facility inspections, and it requires abortionists to file certain documentation when the woman is a victim of rape or incest.

The second was S.B. 527. This good bill by Sen. Ben Gilmore (R – Crossett) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) requires abortion facilities to have transfer agreements with hospitals, and it fixes a flawed definition in a pro-life law passed in 2019.

Both bills passed with solid support from pro-life legislators.

Planned Parenthood has issued statements opposing each of these good measures.

S.B. 527 and S.B. 463 now go to the entire Arkansas House of Representatives for consideration.

Arkansas Enacts Good Laws Protecting Women, Unborn Children From Abortion Drugs

On Monday Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed two good, pro-life laws protecting women and unborn children from dangerous abortion-inducing drugs.

The first was H.B. 1572 — now Act 560 of of 2021.

This good law by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Scott Flippo (R – Mountain Home) outlines the informed-consent process for chemical abortion. Arkansas’ current informed-consent laws for abortion are geared primarily for surgical abortion procedures. Act 560 will help ensure women get all the facts about chemical abortion — including its risks, consequences, and pro-life alternatives.

This will help women choose options besides abortion.

The second was H.B. 1402 — now Act 562 of 2021.

This good law by Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) and Sen. Blake Johnson (R – Corning) updates Arkansas’ restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs like RU-486. It outlines requirements that abortionists must follow in administering abortion-inducing drugs, and it prohibits abortion drugs from being delivered by mail in Arkansas. It also updates current law to ensure doctors who perform chemical abortions are credentialed to handle abortion complications and can transfer the woman to a hospital if she experiences complications.

This will help protect women and unborn children from abortion-inducing drugs.

In 2019 two out of five abortions performed in Arkansas were chemical abortions that used the RU-486 regimen.

With chemical abortion on the rise — and with the Biden Administration expected to relax the rules for RU-486 in the coming months — it’s more important than ever before that states make sure women get all the facts about abortion-inducing drugs and protect women and unborn children from these dangerous abortion methods.

Act 560 and Act 562 will protect women and help save unborn children from abortion. That’s something to celebrate.