Over the weekend, Ohio Gov. John Kasich endorsed a pro-life bill to ban abortions specifically done on unborn babies who are diagnosed with Down syndrome.
North Dakota became the first state in the United States to ban abortions on babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome. With the governor’s signature on the ban in 2013, Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple took that state in a decidedly pro-life direction. Eventually a judge dismissed a legal challenge abortion activists brought against the legislation.
Now, the state of Ohio is considering a similar ban on abortions of babies with Down syndrome. And if the legislature gets the bill to his desk, Kasich said over the weekend that he will sign it.
Kasich made a pledge during an appearance on CNN that he will sign the bill.
“I would sign it, yes,” Kasich told Tapper, breaking from his typical habit of not commenting on controversial legislation before it reaches his desk. “Look, I’m a governor. I’m a CEO. I have to have a hand steady on the wheel. But in this case, I’m more than glad to say that of course I would sign that.”
“It is refreshing to hear that our pro-life governor supports our Down syndrome protection act,” Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis told the Northeast Ohio Media Group late Saturday. “Special needs children deserve our governor’s support and yet again Kasich is leading the pro-life movement forward.”
Kasich has a strong pro-life record over the years. For example, 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.
Ohio Right to Life’s Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act (H.B. 135) was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives. The legislation, sponsored by Representatives Sarah LaTourrette and David Hall, comes after multiple studies have demonstrated that upwards of 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Sixteen legislators signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.
“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,” said Stephanie Ranade Krider. “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.”
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township), said the following about the pro-life bill: “As with any bill that they perceive as a threat to their industry, pro-abortion groups have been vocal in their opposition to HB 135. However, they are presenting the same arguments they use for every pro-life bill. While I make no effort to conceal my pro-life convictions, I firmly believe this bill is about discrimination, not abortion. Choosing to end an individual’s life simply because they are different, or might have Down syndrome, is discrimination. There is simply no other way to look at it.”
Ohio Right to Life aims to educate the state about the high rate of abortions performed on babies diagnosed with Down syndrome while highlighting the positive impact that people with Down syndrome have on their families. In 2011, the American Journal of Medical Genetics ran a three-part series on the impact children with Down syndrome have on families.
Nearly 99 percent of people with Down syndrome indicated that they were happy with their lives, 97 percent liked who they were, and 96 percent liked how they looked. Additionally, more than 96 percent of brothers/sisters indicated that they had affection toward their sibling with Down syndrome. Of over 2,000 parents who responded to the survey, 99 percent reported that they loved their son or daughter and 97 percent were proud of them.
“Sadly, many women turn to abortion when they discover their unborn child might have Down syndrome,” said Rep. Sarah LaTourrette. “Having worked in the adoption field, I know firsthand that there are plenty of alternatives to abortion that respect the value of life. I am proud to introduce legislation that will end this horrific form of discrimination. This is a small step in ensuring the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all individuals – not just the ‘perfect’ or the born.”
Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin recently added her support for the bill to protect babies with Down syndrome from abortion.
Molly Pesich, who was told before birth that her baby would have Down Syndrome, thinks such children deserve protection from abortion.
“This child isn’t perfect so reject? I don’t think that’s right,” she says.
At the time North Dakota adopted its bill, Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest praised it.
“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.”
Yoest said that, while federal and state laws protect women and the disabled from discrimination, the unborn are not similarly protected.