A coalition of 18 states filed a brief with a federal appeals court this week asking it to uphold a recently passed Tennessee abortion restriction in order to protect society’s “most vulnerable citizens.”
At issue is a new Tennessee law that prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The same law also prohibits abortion if the procedure is sought due to the unborn baby’s race, sex or Down syndrome diagnosis. A lower court struck down the law as unconstitutional.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron led the 18-state coalition in filing a friend-of-the-court briefing with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking it to uphold the law.
“Protecting the most vulnerable members of society is an interest of the utmost importance for States. And it is hard to imagine a scenario where this interest comes into sharper focus than protecting unborn children from eugenics-motivated abortions,” the brief states, referencing what the states label the “anti-discrimination provision” of the law that bans abortions targeting an unborn baby for its race, sex or Down syndrome diagnosis.
“It is firmly established that States have a compelling interest in eliminating discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and disability,” the brief adds.
The brief by the 18 states details the history of abortion within the eugenics movement and asserts that the “risk that abortion may be used for eugenics” in today’s world “increases as advances in fetal screening technology decrease the costs of learning whether a particular fetus may have a disability.”
The 18-state coalition says the law’s fetal heartbeat section should be upheld because scientific “advancements” since Roe v. Wade “have only deepened society’s understanding and appreciation of the unmistakable humanity of fetuses.”
The ban on abortions after a heartbeat is detected “protects the dignity of life by relying on an immutable characteristic of humanity – the heartbeat – to mark the bounds of when an unborn child’s life can be taken,” the brief says.
“In fact, it would be hard to imagine a measure that would better express Tennessee’s profound ‘respect for the dignity of human life,’” the brief says.
Other states in the coalition are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
Photo courtesy: Pixabay
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.