An Ohio bill to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from abortion became law today as Gov. John Kasich signed the legislation. The measure bans abortions on babies with Down syndrome and it follows bans in North Dakota and Indiana.
The Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act (Senate Bill 164) would help prevent discrimination by prohibiting abortions on unborn babies who have or may have Down syndrome. Abortionists who violate the measure could be charged with a fourth-degree felony or lose their medical license. The legislation was sponsored by Reps. Sarah LaTourette and Derek Merrin and Sen. Frank LaRose.
“Now that the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act is law, unborn babies prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are given a shot at life” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “Ohio is and will continue to be a state that sees the lives of people with Down syndrome as lives worth living, thanks to this legislation.”
In an August report, CBS News had a segment about Down syndrome in Iceland, claiming the country had “eradicated Down syndrome.” The report stated that nearly 100% of mothers who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for their pregnancy abort their child.
“Ohio Right to Life is immensely grateful to pro-life Governor John Kasich and his administration for how they have protected the unborn,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “Gov. Kasich has signed 20 pro-life initiatives into law in the last six years. He is a pro-life champion, and we are thankful for how he has made it clear that we will not permit this kind of discrimination against people with Down syndrome.”
In the last 6 years, Ohio Right to Life has seen 19 pro-life initiatives passed into law by Gov. John Kasich. In a 2015 interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, when asked if he would sign the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act, Gov. Kasich said “I’m more than glad to say that of course I would sign it.”
“A prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome should not mean a death sentence,” said Gonidakis. “Thanks to our pro-life legislators, we are one step closer to ensuring that Ohioans with Down syndrome are recognized as humans worthy of dignity, just as they are.”
Larry and Jackie Keough, whose daughter has Down syndrome, testified in favor of the bill before a committee vote.
“We ask each of you to support SB 164 that would stop the genocidal practice of aborting unborn children with Down syndrome,” Jackie Keough said. “By doing so, this can be a critical step to eliminate abortion based on individual genetic make up.”
Abortion activists fought against the legislation. In October, the radical pro-abortion group NARAL gave Ohio lawmakers a petition with 2,000 signatures in opposition to the bill.
Jaime Miracle, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said the government never should get involved in a woman’s abortion decision, no matter what her reason is.
“It’s not our place to judge a woman and her decision on whether or not to continue a pregnancy for whatever reason it is,” the pro-abortion leader said.
But state Rep. Sarah LaTourette, a pro-life Republican who sponsored the House version of the bill, said the abortion statistics for unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are staggering, according to the Toledo Blade.
“When we hear the statistic that 90 percent of women chose abortion because of this potential diagnosis, there’s an obvious problem there,” LaTourette said.
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“I continue to say that this bill is about so much more than abortion,” she continued. “I truly believe that it’s about discriminating against some of our most vulnerable, discriminating against an unborn child simply because they might have a Down Syndrome diagnosis. That’s something that I find absolutely unacceptable.”
Studies indicate unborn babies with Down syndrome are targeted for abortions at very high rates. A CBS News report earlier this year shocked the nation by reporting that Iceland has an almost 100-percent abortion rate for unborn babies with the genetic disorder.
One of the key advocates of the Ohio bill is Kelly Kuhns, a Plain City mother and nurse whose son has Down syndrome. Kuhns told the Columbus Dispatch that doctors suggested she abort her son, but she immediately refused.
Despite her resolve, she said the news of her son’s diagnosis troubled her, and the medical counseling did not help.
“They tell you of these horrific things that can happen, the different anomalies, cardiac issues,” she told the AP. “So you plan for the worst, and I really feel like you’re given a death sentence.”
Today, her son Oliver, 2, is doing well. Kuhns said he has more medical appointments than her other children, but he leads a “pretty normal life” otherwise.
Kuhns is advocating for the Ohio legislation to help children like her son.
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