Ohio Could Become Third State to Ban Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 22, 2017   |   11:44AM   |   Columbus, OH

The state of Ohio could become the third state in the nation to ban abortions on babies with Down Syndrome. An Ohio legislative committee held a hearing on a bill today that has strong support from pro-life advocates.

The hearing on the legislation is vitally important as it follows on the heels of massive international debate following a CBS News report indicating that the nation of Iceland has almost eliminated people with Down Syndrome because of its specific targeting of babies with the condition in abortions.

Understanding that babies with Down Syndrome are being targeted by abortion, pro-life organizations across the United States are working to ban abortions when genetic testing specifically reveals an unborn baby has the condition. Two States have already banned such eugenic abortions.

The Ohio Senate Health, Human Services, and Medicaid Committee heard proponent testimony for the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act (S.B. 164) today.

Parent advocates, medical professionals and others joined Ohio Right to Life with supporting testimony in favor of this important legislation in front of the Senate Health, Human Services, and Medicaid Committee.

“The Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act is a crucial step in creating a society that is inclusive of people who are different, no matter how many chromosomes they have,” said Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “This legislation is an important part of protecting those most vulnerable from discrimination based on their genetic makeup. We are so thankful for the advocates, families, and medical professionals who came out to stand up for unborn babies with Down syndrome.”

In addition to Jessica Koehler of Ohio Right to Life, four parent advocates testified on behalf of this legislation, along with two medical professionals, Dr. Dennis Sullivan, Director of the Center for Bioethics at Cedarville University, and Kelly Kuhns, RN, BSN, a labor and delivery nurse.

“With the recent CBS News report about ‘eradicating Down syndrome,’ this bill has never been more relevant,” said Gonidakis. “Down syndrome isn’t fatal, but discriminatory abortions that target those who have it are. Ohio has the chance to lead the nation and create a society where people with Down syndrome are included, accepted, and loved.”

“Abortion has to be one of the most tragic forms of discrimination we can imagine,” said Gonidakis. “None of us are perfect, yet babies with disabilities continue to be targeted for elimination based on the notion that some babies are simply better than others. We are all created equal and should be protected as intrinsically valuable members of our one human family.”

The legislation comes in response to studies which show that 90 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. The practice of aborting children based on a Down syndrome diagnosis has been hailed as a victory in European countries like Denmark where 98 percent of babies with a positive diagnosis are aborted and in Iceland where 100 percent are aborted. Last year, a French court banned a pro-life commercial featuring smiling children with Down syndrome on the basis that it could “disturb the conscience” of women who had aborted their unborn children.

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“The only word for this kind of search-and-destroy mission is eugenics,” said Gonidakis. “History has shown us the dark path of this kind of de-humanization. If diversity, inclusion and compassion mean anything in 21st century America, we will pass this legislation and stand up for our friends with disabilities, born and unborn. Ohio Right to Life thanks Senator LaRose for his leadership in responding to this crisis and extending the protection of Ohio law to children with Down syndrome.”

Indiana was the second state to have banned abortions on babies with Down syndrome.

Ohio Right to Life asks its members to send a letter of support to their state senators using its Legislative Action Center at ohiolife.org. Click here to take action now.