WASHINGTON, DC— Americans United for Life filed a friend-of-the-Court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court today, urging the Justices to grant review of an Arkansas law that protects persons in the womb with Down’s syndrome from being targeted for abortion. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the law unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade, saying that it was an impermissible ban on abortion before viability for women who may seek abortion because their child has Down’s.

“Federal and state policy is in unanimous agreement that discrimination against persons with disabilities is systemic and inexcusable,” said Americans United for Life Chief Legal Officer Steven H. Aden. “Arkansas’ law is a commonsense recognition of the fact that all lives have dignity and worth and ought to be protected in law.” AUL’s annual “pro-life playbook,” Defending Life 2021, includes model legislation similar to Arkansas’ that many states have enacted aimed at protecting preborn human beings from discriminatory abortion.

AUL’s brief emphasizes that the Arkansas case would allow the Court the opportunity not only to clarify that prenatal protections for persons with disabilities are constitutional, but also to address the continuously unsettled standard for reviewing any kind of abortion regulation. “The Eighth Circuit’s decision below has exacerbated a growing circuit conflict over the standard of review used to determine the constitutionality of abortion regulations generally, as well as over the constitutionality of prenatal nondiscrimination provisions designed to safeguard persons with disabilities from being singled out for abortion. Review in this case would enable the Court to address whether the important governmental interest in protecting persons with disabilities from stigma and prejudice extends to protecting them when they are most vulnerable—in the womb,” argues Americans United for Life.

The case is Rutledge, et al. v. Little Rock Family Planning Services, Sup. Ct. No. 20-1434.

Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization that holds the distinction of being the first national pro-life organization in America—incorporated in 1971. It protects and defends human life from conception to natural death through vigorous legislative, judicial, and educational efforts.

press@aul.org or 202-741-4921