Missouri Bill Would Make It the Second State to Ban Abortions Based on Down Syndrome

State   |   Emily Derois   |   Feb 1, 2016   |   11:23AM   |   Jefferson City, MO

Across the United States, women are aborting their children based solely on their diagnosis of Down syndrome.

The Southeast Missourian describes the shocking amount of abortions targeting these children, “A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics estimated since 1996, about 30 percent of fetuses with Down syndrome were selectively aborted annually in the U.S.” Other studies have estimated it could be as high as 90 percent.

In order to safeguard future generations from this discrimination, several states, including Missouri, are proposing bills to protect babies with this diagnosis. On Tuesday, a Missouri state Senate committee heard testimony about the bill.

The Missouri Safeguard gives a beautiful example of why this bill is so important:

Ryan Gallagher, the father of a 2-year-old girl with Down syndrome who testified Tuesday, said he felt deflated when he first hear his daughter’s diagnosis after her birth. But since then, he said he’s seen how joyful she is.

“Knowing a little more about a child – that they will have some additional challenges ahead – shouldn’t give a parent the right to decide a baby isn’t good enough or worthy of living,” he said.

If Missouri Senate Bill 802 passes, Missouri will become the second state to defend these children. In 2013, North Dakota became the first in the United States to ban these discriminatory abortions.

However, abortion advocates are opposing the protective bill, insisting that it would detract from a woman’s “right to abortion.” They claim that the state already has enough abortion safeguards, due to its 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortion.

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But many others see this law as a necessary safeguard. A previous LifeNews article quoted the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sarah LaTourette: “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.”

Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest also praised similar legislation after it passed in North Dakota.

“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.”

Just as mothers and born children with Down syndrome are protected under the law, this bill is meant to protect the unborn. This is intended to end discrimination against these innocent children. Rather than assume that the child’s quality of life warrants abortion, it is in the child’s best interest to choose life.