ACLU's case against Supreme Court review of invalidated 12-week abortion ban | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, December 10, 2015

ACLU's case against Supreme Court review of invalidated 12-week abortion ban

Posted By on Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 4:34 PM

The ACLU of Arkansas filed its brief opposing Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's appeal for the U.S. Supreme Court to take up two lower court rulings invalidating the state's ban on abortion at 12 weeks.

It's pretty simple really. The ban occurs well before viability of the fetus, in conflict with several major court precedents. There is no dispute among the various circuit courts to resolve. There is no precedent to allow the states to make their own decisions. The state offers no good reason for the court to reconsider 40 years of precedent.

All this was true before Sen. Jason Rapert even introduced the bill, but the legislature passed it anyway, over Gov. Mike Beebe's veto and has continued to waste money pursuing fruitless appeals.

For the record:

The brief makes the useful point that the exceptions are even narrower than the state claims, functionally mostly to save the life of the mother. Many rape victims could not claim that exception. Exceptions for grave fetal abnormalities are not certain. And there are other flaws. But this bill was never about protecting the interests of women.

Lower court rulings upheld the law's requirement for fetal heartbeat tests, but the brief says this provides no basis for ending viability as the standard. Nor are "safe haven laws" transferring power to states or laws that encourage women to put unwanted children up for adoption justifications for interfering with a woman's rights, the brief says.

Casey was clear that the liberty interest at stake is not only the right to “avoid unwanted parenthood,” as Petitioners suggest, but also the right of a woman to determine her “own concept of existence,” and to determine for herself whether and when to undergo the “anxieties, physical constraints, [and] pain that only she must bear” in pregnancy and childbirth. This Court concluded that her “suffering is too intimate and personal for the State to insist, without more, upon its own vision of [her] role

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