by Steven Ertelt
March 11, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading pro-abortion group has said it will not oppose a bill that will help reduce the number of abortions on babies who are potentially afflicted with Down Syndrome. The measure has already received approval from a Senate committee and is headed to the full chamber for a debate and vote.
Last month, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved the Pre-natally and Post-natally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act on a unanimous vote.
The bill is designed to help reduce the number of abortions of babies with Down syndrome and other conditions.
Sen Sam Brownback, a pro-life Kansas Republican and co-sponsor of the bill, says it 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.
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.
Surprisingly, the top spokeswoman for NARAL says her group won’t oppose the legislation.
”Unlike other legislation Senator Brownback sponsors, this measure does not include anti-choice rhetoric or policy provisions that would harm women’s health,” NARAL President Nancy Keenan told McLatchy Newspapers.
"It’s our view that the bill offers information and services to expectant women and does not undermine their right to choose," she added.
Brownback, who has co-sponsored the measure with leading abortion advocate Ted Kennedy, 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.
Though NARAL isn’t opposing the bill, that doesn’t mean all abortion advocates are refraining from attacking it.
Julie Burkhart, the head of the pro-abortion Kansas political action committee ProKanDo and a frequent apologist for late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller, bashed it.
"Sen. Brownback’s efforts smack of an inability to grasp the difficulty of the heartbreaking choices some families must make," she writes in a Tuesday op-ed.
She called the senator’s motives into question and claimed Brownback’s modus operandi is to "lull everyone into a false sense of security before tacking on a bunch of amendments that undermine a woman’s right to choose."
Burkhart claims Brownback is one of the pro-life people who "more on the pre-born than they do the pre-schooler."
In earlier comments to LifeNews.com, Brownback defended his bill and said it provides hope and information for parents and unborn children.
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.
Brownback indicated the percentage of parents opting for abortions in cases of unborn children with other conditions such as spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, and dwarfism are high as well.
The bill also calls for the creation of a national registry of families willing to adopt children with pre- or post-natally diagnosed conditions.
ACTION: Contact your senator at 202-224-3121 and urge support for the bill, or go to https://www.senate.gov for more specific contact information.