The petition that was filed presents three questions for the Supreme Court’s review:
- Whether Missouri’s restriction on abortions performed solely because the unborn child may have Down syndrome is categorically invalid under Casey and Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), or whether it is a valid, reasonable regulation of abortion that seeks to prevent the elimination of children with Down syndrome through eugenic abortion?
- Whether Missouri’s restrictions on abortions performed after eight, fourteen, eighteen, and twenty weeks’ gestational age are categorically invalid, or whether they are valid, reasonable regulations of abortion that advance important state interests?
- Whether the “penumbral” right to abortion recognized in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), and partially reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), should be overruled?
The petition argues several reasons for granting the petition, including asking the Court to resolve a circuit split on laws outlawing abortions based solely on a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, and asking the Court to reverse decisions of the lower courts holding that such provisions are “categorically unconstitutional.”
The petition begins by addressing abortions based solely on prenatal Down syndrome diagnoses, stating, “Our society has come a long way in 39 years since doctors viewed people like Chris Nikic as ‘mere blobs’ who ‘are quite incapable of telling us what they feel, and what they sense.’ But despite these advances, deeply entrenched forces within our medical establishment continue to treat unborn children with Down syndrome as ‘mere blobs.’ Unborn children with Down syndrome are aborted at epidemic rates. Medicalized discrimination and directive counseling contribute heavily to their elimination.”
The petition continues, “In the face of this genocidal crisis, Missouri and at least 11 other states have enacted laws restricting the eugenic abortion of the disabled, especially those with Down syndrome. In 2019, this Court declined to review the Seventh Circuit’s decision invalidating one of these laws—Indiana’s—because no Circuit split yet existed. Since then, a clear and well-developed split of authority has emerged.”
In the lower court, a federal judge initially allowed the state to enforce the provision banning abortions based on a prenatal Down Syndrome diagnosis but later reversed his ruling and enjoined the state from enforcing that provision. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office then appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed that ruling. Today, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office asked the Supreme Court of the United States to hear the case.
Previously, Attorney General Schmitt led a 22-state coalition in filing an amicus brief in support of a similar law banning abortions based solely on a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis in Arkansas.