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.

Family Council Obtains Documents Showing Planned Parenthood in Pulaski County Public Schools

A screenshot from the documents outlining some of the topics Planned Parenthood covers with students.

Last month Family Council sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD) asking for communications between Planned Parenthood employees and school district employees.

PCSSD includes public schools in Pulaski County outside of Little Rock.

In response, the Pulaski County Special School district sent Family Council 1,395 pages of redacted email correspondences, attachments, and other documents revealing that Planned Parenthood has been active in multiple central Arkansas public schools over the past several years.

In particular, the emails reveal that Planned Parenthood’s Education and Outreach coordinator gave a series of presentations at Sylvan Hills High School in 2018 and again in 2019.

The coordinator was invited back to give lectures at the school in 2020, but the coronavirus outbreak—coupled with the coordinator at Planned Parenthood changing jobs—apparently put a halt to that.

A screenshot from the documents outlining some of the topics Planned Parenthood covers with students.

Planned Parenthood conducted similar presentations at Fuller Middle School in 2015, Mills High School in 2016, and Joe T. Robinson in 2018 or 2019.

The documents also show that Planned Parenthood communicated extensively with the counselor at Maumelle High School, and that Planned Parenthood may have conducted activities at Cloverdale Middle School and McClellan High School over the past few years.

All of this underscores why new legislation like H.B. 1592 is so important.

H.B. 1592 is a good bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) that prohibits public schools in Arkansas from working with abortion providers.

H.B. 1592 will help make sure Planned Parenthood and other abortionists don’t continue to have access to our state’s public schools.

H.B. 1592 is currently before the Senate Education Committee.

Read H.B. 1592 Here.

Read all 1,395 pages of documents from the PCSSD here.

Read a few excerpts from the documents here.

Senate Committee Passes Pro-Life Resolution

On Monday the Senate Public Health Committee passed H.C.R. 1007.

This good resolution by Rep. Jim Wooten (R – Beebe) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) recognizes January 22 — the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade abortion decision — as “The Day of Tears” in Arkansas.

Alabama passed a similar resolution last month.

H.C.R. 1007 acknowledges the 61 million of unborn babies killed in abortion in America over the past five decades, and encourages Arkansans to lower their flags to half-staff on January 22 to mourn the innocent children who have lost their lives.

Read The Resolution Here.