(The Center Square) – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said his office will seek a U.S. Supreme Court review of a U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that upholds an injunction prohibiting the state from implementing a 2019 abortion law.
A three-judge 8th Circuit panel heard arguments in September and handed down its ruling Wednesday, determining Missouri’s law prohibiting abortions after eight weeks and abortions based on Down syndrome diagnoses prevent women from making their own decisions.
Missouri “failed to demonstrate its policy priorities outweigh the public interest in access to pre-viability abortions or the significant interference with (Planned Parenthood’s) business and the harm to pregnant individuals who might seek a pre-viability abortion before final judgment in this case,” reads the opinion.
The opinion was penned by Judge Jane Kelly and joined by Justices Roger Wollman and David Stras, who dissented on retaining the injunction against abortions based on Down syndrome diagnoses.
House Bill 126, the Missouri Stands For The Unborn Act, sponsored by Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, was adopted by lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson in 2019. It was to go into effect on August 28, 2019.
Reproductive Health Services (RHS) of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region filed a lawsuit on July 30, 2019, in the U.S. Western District of Missouri challenging HB 126’s gestational age and Down syndrome provisions.
The district court granted RHS’s request to suspend the law from being enacted, finding its lawsuit was “highly likely” to succeed. The state appealed and its arguments were heard on Sept. 24 in St. Louis.
In its opinion, the 8th Circuit referred to an Arkansas case in which the state made the same argument Missouri attorneys did, that the law was not a ban but regulation of pre-viability abortions.
The court ruled Arkansas’ law regulating options for “pre-viability abortions” ultimately blocks women from making their own decisions to terminate pregnancies.
Schmitt, whose son has a rare tuberous sclerosis condition that causes tumors to form on organs, said the state will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court to “ensure all life is protected.”
“My son Stephen has shown me the inherent beauty and dignity in all life, especially those with special needs,” Schmitt said in a statement to The Missouri Times. “While we’re disappointed in the 8th Circuit’s decision, their decision does provide an avenue for this case to be heard by the Supreme Court, and we plan to seek review in the Supreme Court. I have never and will never stop fighting to ensure all life is protected.”
Schroer wrote on Facebook Wednesday that the ruling was expected.
“Given the 8th Circuit’s January ruling in a similar Arkansas pro-life case, I was not surprised by today’s decision of the court to uphold the preliminary injunction of two very important pieces of the ‘Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act,’” he wrote, noting the U.S. Supreme Court will review a similar Mississippi law this fall.
“Keep in mind,” Schroer continued, “95% of the strongest pro-life bill in the nation remains intact and is Missouri law today. I will pray that our Lord guides our Supreme Court justices in the coming months as they will hopefully take up this issue and other pro-life laws across our great nation.”