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North Dakota Now First State to Ban Abortions Based on Down Syndrome

by Steven Ertelt | Bismarck, ND | LifeNews.com | 3/26/13 3:47 PM

State

With the governor’s signature on the ban today, North Dakota has become the first state to ban abortions based on genetic “defects” like Down Syndrome. When diagnosed before birth, such genetic abnormalities prompt couples to have abortions 90 percent of the time.

The state legislature approved the measure and Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed it today.

The measure would also ban abortion based on gender selection, an issue of increasing concern in the United States has people from nations like China and India migrate to the United States and bring their cultural preference for boys with them.

Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest told LifeNews she is delighted Rep. Bette Grande championed the bill. The law is based on AUL-model legislation and makes North Dakota the fifth state to ban the sexist practice of ending a child’s life based on its sex. But importantly, North Dakota becomes the first state to end the practice of destroying unborn life based on potential genetic abnormalities.

“A civil society does not discriminate against people – born and unborn – for their sex or for disability.  We should be celebrating diversity, not destroying it,” she said. “Women in particular have been targeted for death in the womb, and we’ve also seen dramatic abortion rates for children with disabilities which put them at risk for extinction. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Rep. Bette Grande and the legislators in North Dakota have shown courageous humanity in passing this legislation.”

“North Dakota House Bill (HB) 1305, sponsored by Rep. Grande, serves essential public interests by prohibiting both sex-selection abortion and abortion for genetic abnormalities,” she continued. “Sex-selection abortion is gender-based violence generally targeted toward females. Likewise, abortion performed solely because of genetic abnormalities is discriminatory and devalues the lives of the disabled.”

Yoest said that, while federal and state laws protect women and the disabled from discrimination, the unborn are not similarly protected.  HB 1305 cures this deficiency in the law and ensures protection for unborn children who are targeted for death solely because of their sex or genetic abnormalities. The other states that ban sex-selective abortions are Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.

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North Dakota Family Alliance Action supports the measure and told LifeNews more about it.

“HB 1305 would prohibit abortion if the abortion is on account of the sex of the unborn, or because the unborn child has been diagnosed with a genetic abnormality or a potential for a genetic abnormality,” it said. “”Throughout the world millions of the unborn are being aborted because they are not of the desired sex, and this phenomena is beginning to find its way to America. While all abortion is unacceptable, what we can do today is to make unlawful this atrocity–to abort because of the sex of the unborn is undesirable.”

“Today 9 of 10 unborn babies diagnosed with Downs Syndrome–are aborted. As a people, we cannot take into our hands to arbitrarily determine who should live and who should die because of a genetic abnormality or other potential physical condition,” it continued. “We must protect these who are so vulnerable.”