In Ohio, the legislature is expected to pass a bill that will ban abortions specifically done on unborn babies who are diagnosed with Down syndrome. The legislation, H.B. 135, was introduced earlier this summer and has the full support of the National Right to Life Committee. In 2013, North Dakota became the first state to ban abortions for fetal anomalies, including Trisomy 21.
The president of Ohio Right to Life, Mike Gonidakis, said the legislation was at the top of their priority list for the legislative session.
He said, “We all want to be born perfect, but none of us are, and everyone has a right to live, perfect or not. You go to any supermarket or mall and see these families who just happen to have a child with Down syndrome, and they will tell you how fortunate they are to have those children. Pretty soon, we’re going to find the gene for autism. Are we going to abort for that, too?”
H.B. 135 was sponsored by Representatives Sarah LaTourrette and David Hall and sixteen legislators signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. The Executive Director of Ohio Right to Life, Stephanie Ranade Krider, said, “More and more, it seems that society is rejecting discrimination in favor of diversity, empathy, and understanding for the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our communities. It makes sense that we would apply that practice across the whole spectrum of life, to protect some of the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, starting in the womb.”
As LifeNews previously reported, 90% of women who receive the prenatal diagnosis that their child will have Down syndrome end their life through abortion. The director of the Cuyahoga County chapter of Ohio Right to Life said her doctors tried to pressure her into abortion after a screening showed her baby could have Down syndrome. Rachel Mullen explained, “They told me that I should get an abortion fast, so no one would know I was pregnant and I wouldn’t have the stigma of abortion, that it would be doing the child a favor. As soon as babies are born, they’re protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act, but we need this bill so that they can be born, and not culled.”
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Of course, abortion proponents oppose the pro-life legislation because they believe it conflicts with Roe. vs. Wade. The director of legal advocacy for the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Sara Ainsworth, told MSN News, “They’re trying to encroach on the right to abortion, step by step, and turn a woman’s health care decision into an issue of discrimination against the fetus. I can’t imagine how any of these laws would be enforceable.”
The executive director of Naral Pro-Choice Ohio, Kellie Copeland, agreed and said, “This is interference with a medical decision following a complicated diagnosis. For us, it comes down to who makes the decision and who’s going to have to live with it. Not knowing the family and the circumstances, the legislature can’t possibly take into account all the factors involved.”
Ohio Governor John R. Kasich has yet to take a position on the bill but has supported pro-life measures multiple times in the past. During his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, Kasich voted for the Federal Abortion Ban, the Unborn Victims of Violence Bill, a parental consent bill and measures to defund abortion facilities and require them to meet certain safety standards. In July, Gov. Kasich officially announced that he was running for the president of the United States.