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Rutledge Files Reply Brief Asking the U.S. Supreme Court to Grant Review in Down Syndrome Abortion Case

Says, ‘I will not stand by and allow this practice to happen’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a reply brief in support of her petition for a writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review an erroneous decision holding that the Constitution guarantees a right to abort a child solely on the basis of a Down-syndrome diagnosis. In January, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s order that blocked Arkansas’s law prohibiting abortions that are performed solely on the basis of Down syndrome. In April, Attorney General Rutledge filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to reverse the Eighth Circuit’s decision.

“In my personal experiences, I know individuals with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome, but they also have extra love to give and I will fight for these innocent individuals who are a gift from God,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The Constitution does not sanction killing an unborn child just because that child may have Down syndrome and I will not stand by and allow this practice to happen.”

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.

Prior to Act 619 taking effect, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood sued to block it. The federal district court in Little Rock ruled that the Constitution guarantees a right to selectively abort children with Down syndrome. The Eighth Circuit affirmed this decision 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, Rutledge v. Little Rock Family Planning Services, No. 20-1434. For a copy of the petition and reply, click here.

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