Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson joined 17 other attorneys general from across the country in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi’s ban on so-called non-emergency abortions done after 15 weeks.
Mississippi’s law prohibits abortions after 15 weeks with the exception of physical emergencies or severe fetal abnormalities. The law was struck down as unconstitutional in U.S. District Court.
Clarkson and his fellow attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the nation’s highest court on behalf of the Mississippi law, which is based on legislative findings that an unborn baby can sense stimulation from the outside world and has developed all basic physiological functions at just 12 weeks.
District Court decision also prevents states from offering scientific evidence that might limit abortions.
The brief argues that the District Court ruling treats the right to abortion “as absolute such that no state interest could ever justify any limitation of abortion previability. But no other constitutional right enjoys such absolute unquestioning protection…”
It adds that the District Court decision also prevents states from offering scientific evidence that might limit abortions.
“That is the case here,” the brief states. “In the 47 years since Roe, innumerable advances in science and medicine inform our understanding of fetal development and the capacity to experience pain.”
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The attorney’s general maintain that the District Court has essentially declared that all scientific developments irrelevant with regard to abortion regulation. To let this ruling stand would “strip state legislatures of the ability to legislate effectively in light of evolving knowledge,” the brief maintains.
The brief also asks the Supreme Court to condemn the District Court’s commentary that accused the Mississippi Legislature of racism and sexism in crafting the law.
“District courts are charged with making fact findings that are relied on by appellate courts,” the brief states. “District courts cannot proceed from the assumption that abortion regulations are inherently illegitimate. Nor should they disparage the good faith of lawmakers who value unborn life.”
The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to rule on the case.
Read the full brief here.