Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Eighth Circuit Grants En Banc Rehearing on Missouri Down Syndrome Abortion Law

I’m very pleased to learn that the Eighth Circuit yesterday granted en banc rehearing of the divided panel decision last month that barred Missouri from enforcing its law that makes it unlawful for a person to “perform or induce an abortion on a woman if the person knows that the woman is seeking the abortion solely because of a prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down Syndrome or the potential of Down Syndrome in an unborn child.” (The district court’s preliminary injunction against the law will remain in effect in the meantime.)

In reconsidering whether the Missouri law is impermissible under existing Supreme Court precedent, the en banc court will also effectively revisit the panel decision (in Little Rock Family Planning Services v. Rutledge) in January against a similar Arkansas law. (Arkansas has a certiorari petition pending in the Supreme Court.) In April, the en banc Sixth Circuit ruled that Ohio may enforce its similar law.

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