Senate Approves Bill to Reduce Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome
by Steven Ertelt
September 24, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill via unanimous consent that is designed to help reduce the number of abortions of babies with Down syndrome and other conditions.
Pro-life advocates have been worried about the high percentage of abortions as doctors leave parents with few options when confronted with a disabled unborn child.
The legislation would require giving families who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other condition, pre-natally or up until a year after birth, pertinent helpful information.
The information would include facts about the condition and connections to support services and networks that could offer assistance in raising a disabled child.
Sen Sam Brownback, a pro-life Kansas Republican and co-sponsor of the bill, told LifeNews.com he’s glad the Senate approved it.
“This bill will greatly benefit expecting parents who receive the sometimes overwhelming news that their unborn child may be born with a disability," he said. "This legislation will provide parents with current and reliable information about the many options available for caring for children with disabilities.”
He said he hopes it will reduce the percentage of abortions in such cases — with some studies showing as many as 90 percent of parents with an unborn baby diagnosed as having Down syndrome having an abortion.
That percentage is similar for children pre-natally diagnosed with other conditions such as spina bifida, cystic fibrosis and dwarfism.
The plight of Down syndrome babies has received significant attention thanks to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running mate, who gave birth to a baby with the condition earlier this year.
The Pre-natally and Post-natally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act would provide for the expansion and further development of a national clearinghouse on information for parents of children with disabilities, so that the clearinghouse would be better equipped to assist parents whose children have recently been pre- or post-natally diagnosed.
The bill also provides for the expansion and further development of national and local peer-support programs. The bill also calls for the creation of a national registry of families willing to adopt children with pre- or post-natally diagnosed conditions.
In a rare show of bipartisan support, Brownback is working with pro-abortion Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts on the bill.
“It is difficult, sometimes overwhelming, for expecting parents to receive news that their unborn child may be born with a disability,” Brownback said.
“This legislation will help parents receiving such news by supplying them with current and reliable information about the many options available for caring for children with disabilities," he added.
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